11 VCs reveal how hard it was for their startups to fundraise in H1 2023

Everyone knows that raising venture capital has been harder for startups lately — unless you are building an AI startup, of course. But instead of only talking to founders, we’re flipping the script today.

We wanted to hear from investors how their portcos are handling a cash-light environment. To that end, TechCrunch+ recently asked 11 VCs how the first half of 2023 bore out for their investments.

From their answers, it appears a startup’s ability to fundraise in today’s climate is based on several key factors, including capital efficiency, the market and its needs.

How bad was H1 2023?

Menlo Ventures’ Matt Murphy was succinct when we asked how 2023 was shaping up for his firm’s portfolio companies: “Fundraising is challenging, full stop.”

“Challenging” is a good descriptor. So is “quiet,” which is how Jason Lemkin of SaaStr Fund put it. For Kaitlyn Doyle of TechNexus Venture Collaborative, the year has been mostly “flat rounds with companies trying to delay the valuation discussion.” She added that the second quarter felt a lot like the first, with investors and startups taking a “wait and see” stance.

Other investors had slightly brighter perspectives on H1 2023. Rex Salisbury of Cambrian Ventures felt the narrative that “this is a terrible time to raise” is simply not true, especially at the early stage. That sentiment matches what we’ve seen thus far in the data: The earlier a startup goes out to raise a round, the better its chances of landing a strong valuation. Indeed, the massive repricings of the public market are yet to trickle down to seed and pre-seed deals.


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