In January, more than 500 Term Sheet readers and VC/PE industry professionals took a survey conducted by Semaphore, a business consulting firm, about confidence in 2018. Approximately 31% of respondents work in venture capital, 15% work in private equity, with the rest being bankers, LPs, operating executives and third party vendors.)
The full results are quite interesting, but here are the highlights:
• 93% of respondents have confidence in themselves, while 79% have no or little confidence in President Donald Trump.
• 88% were confident or somewhat confident in their own business
• 80% believe sexual misconduct, harassment, and gender bias is a problem in the VC/PE industry.
• 76% have confidence in the U.S. national economy
• 74% expect to earn more than they did in 2017 with 6% expecting to earn less and 20% the same amount
• 53% are confident that the corporate income tax rate cuts will spur the national economy in 2018, while 47% do not.
There were some additional comments that struck me. (Note: respondents were 85% male and 15% female).
On sexual misconduct:
• “Any time there is a material imbalance of leaders and role models for any group (race, sex, etc.) a bias will naturally develop through a lack of representation of viewpoint.”
• “I have had a front row seat. It is destabilizing, demoralizing, divisive and completely unacceptable behavior that always ruins a business.”
• “It needs to be talked about, but it’s being blown way out of proportion. The end result now is men will fear doing business with women.”
• “PE firms need to hire women above the rank of associate. Non-investment professionals should not count towards diversity counts.”
• “Hire women. Promote women. Work extra hard to get women who are truly qualified and primed for success. Very simple — if powerful women are in a room, people do not do that shit.”
• “Valuations are high across the board. 2018 may not see a VC correction, but one is coming. PE will probably cool due to rising interest rates and lower deductibility of interest (ie larger equity checks required for deals mean lower purchase multiples).”
• “VC industry exits are taking too long and early startups want a higher valuation but don’t deserve it.”
• “Although an operator, I feel that early stage valuations are way out of control. Would not be surprised to see a correction this year.”
On the tax overhaul:
• “I actually have no idea how the tax change affects me personally. I have not read the bill and do not have any first-hand informed opinion on how good/bad the bill is for each income level. In general, my assessment of any tax changes are not tied to how it will affect my personal income status. I’m young — the solution is always to just make more money.”
Thanks again to everyone who took the time to take the survey. If you have any additional thoughts, share them with me on Twitter.
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