One of GV’s top enterprise investors lays out his team’s strategy for 2022
Companies would typically pitch GV, Alphabet’s independent $8 billion early-stage venture capital firm, on Mondays. That was until 2021, of course.
Founders started to “pitch on Sundays and on Friday nights and on Saturday mornings,” says GV general partner Dave Munichiello, who leads the fund’s consumer, enterprise, and frontier investment teams. “I think we were all working 24/7. It was absolutely frenzied.”
It turned out to be a good time to recruit two new partners to GV’s enterprise team, a sector that comprises about a third of GV’s portfolio, to lend a hand with the investments. Most of GV’s investors are operators and have come from inside companies, Munichiello says. But Crystal Huang and Sangeen Zeb, who joined GV’s enterprise team the same day in July 2021, came from other funds (NEA and Founders Circle Capital, respectively) and were able to hit the ground running during what proved to be a chaotic year for venture capital.
GV has been ramping up its enterprise business over the last few years after scoring a series of wins, including exits in Slack, Segment, and Duo Security. Since 2018, GV has invested $1.1 billion in the sector—compared to the $1.8 billion it’s invested in enterprise since GV was launched back in 2009.
“We’re investing at a fast clip,” Munichiello says.
Now, with this quieter moment in venture capital—what many are referring to as the “downturn”—founders are less focused on the high share prices, and more on working with investors who will stick it out for the long haul and want some consistency. For GV, 2022 is proving to be an opportunity to work with founders it turned down last year, as some of them are circling back to the fund and offering equity in a flat bridge round.
Even so, partners are generally maintaining the same cadence they had in 2021, Munichiello says, tending to spend time with around 30 companies a week, and trying to narrow that down to one or two to bring back to the rest of the team. That will typically yield one or two investments every other week from the fund. In total, GV has backed 40 new portfolio companies so far in 2022—with 11 in the enterprise sector.
While the pace of meetings and activity has indeed slowed down across the industry, Munichiello says the team is still averaging the same number of new investments. (GV made 48 new and follow-on enterprise investments in 2021, compared to 28 thus far this year.) Part of that he attributes to GV’s definitive effort to “stay as consistent as possible” and “not get wrapped up in the frenzy of the market” last year. After all, crossover hedge funds had been pouring capital into the space, throwing what Munichiello refers to as “unsophisticated dollars” into early-stage VC, and founders were asking—and able to score—valuations that were higher than GV “could possibly get to,” he says.
So now is GV’s time to shine, and get on the cap table for some of the companies it had fallen in love with. So far this year, GV has joined or led rounds in enterprise companies including Omni, Modular.ai, and Pecan AI.
But, as valuations start to dip, GV must be feeling some pressure from the board of the one LP it pitches every couple years—Alphabet? Munichiello says “not at all,” and hopes that appeals to founders while some other funds may be out reassuring their own investors.
“If you think about the LP that we’re talking to, you don’t need to be convinced that A.I. and machine learning are going to make a massive impact,” he says.
One more day… to tell me what you think will happen the rest of 2022. As you may recall, I published a collection of comments from Term Sheet readers on how you were thinking about the downturn. Three months later, I’m curious if anything has changed. Has there been a permanent shift in the private markets? Are we better off? How bad could things get? What’s the upside? Whether you’re a startup founder, a venture capitalist, a private equity investor, a banker, a limited partner, or simply someone who likes to read this newsletter, I’d like to hear from you. Send your thoughts to my email below, and thanks for sharing the wisdom.
Jackson Fordyce curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.
- Alma, a New York-based mental health care network, raised $130 million in Series D funding. Thoma Bravo led the round and was joined by investors including Cigna Ventures, Insight Partners, Optum Ventures, Tusk Venture Partners, Primary Venture Partners, and Sound Ventures.
- Aktis Oncology, a Boston and Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based biotechnology company treating a broad range of solid tumors, raised $84 million in Series A extension funding. Cowen Healthcare Investments, MRL Ventures Fund, ArrowMark Partners, Mirae Asset Venture Investment, Timefolio Capital, Pappas Capital, MPM Capital, Vida Ventures, EcoR1 Capital, Octagon Capital, TCG Crossover, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Novartis invested in the round.
- 3T Biosciences, a South San Francisco-based immunotherapy company, raised $40 million in Series A funding. Westlake Village BioPartners led the round and was joined by Lightspeed Venture Partners.
- Psych Hub, a Nashville-based mental health education and navigation platform, raised $16 million in funding. HC9 and Frist Cressey Ventures led the round and were joined by investors including HealthStream, Emerson Collective, and Bailey & Co.'s strategic fund.
- Headroom, a San Francisco-based meeting platform, raised $9 million in funding. Equal Opportunity Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Gradient Ventures, LDV Capital, AME Cloud Ventures, and Morado Ventures.
- Bookkeeper360, a Woodbury, N.Y.-based accounting and bookkeeping company, raised $3.5 million in seed funding. National Business Capital CEO Joe Camberato and others invested in the round.
- Ceresa, an Austin-based employee learning platform, raised $3 million in funding. TTCER Partners, EduLab Capital Partners, and LiveOak Venture Partners led the round and were joined by investors including Gaingels, Goodwater Capital, TXV Partners, and Notley.
- Uplift Labs, a Palo Alto-based movement health startup, raised $2.5 million in seed funding. NBA player Seth Curry, former volleyball player Callie Rivers Curry, former NFL player David DeCastro, Atma Capital, LAUNCH Fund, The Syndicate, and Ethos Fund invested in the round.
- SubsBase, a Cairo-based subscription and recurring revenue management platform, raised $2.4 million in seed funding. Global Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including HALA Ventures, P1 Ventures, Plus Venture Capital, Plug and Play, Ingressive Capital, Camel Ventures, Falak Startups, and Arzan Venture Capital.
- BalkanID, an Austin-based cloud access governance solution developer, raised an additional $2.36 million in seed extension funding. K2G Tech Fund, GIT1K Club, Firsthand Ventures, MGV, NKM Capital, and others invested in the round.
- Avium, a Singapore-based Web3 media startup, raised $2 million in pre-seed funding. Saison Capital led the round and was joined by investors including East Ventures, Mirana Ventures, and Ricky Ow.
- GoEngineer, a portfolio company of Court Square Capital Partners, acquired Computer Aided Technology, a Chicago-based 3D software and printing hardware product development solutions provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Prestige Medical Imaging, a portfolio company of Atlantic Street Capital, acquired MedServ Plus, a Beaver Falls, Pa.-based medical imaging company, and XRV Healthcare, a Springfield, Va.-based medical imaging company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Ernst & Young acquired Cambria Solutions, a Sacramento, Calif.-based IT and management firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- QuestionPro acquired Digsite, a Madison, Wis.-based exploratory research platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Zeekr Intelligent, a Ningbo, China-based electric vehicle brand, is considering an initial public offering in either Hong Kong or the U.S., according to Bloomberg. Zhejiang Geely Holding Group backs the company.
- Bitcoin Depot, an Atlanta-based Bitcoin ATM operator, agreed to go public via a merger with GSR II Meteora Acquisition Corp., a SPAC. A deal would value the company at $885 million.
FUNDS + FUNDS OF FUNDS
- Cyberstarts, a Jerusalem-based venture capital firm, raised $60 million for a fund focused on early stage cybersecurity companies.