Felicis Ventures, the early-stage, Menlo Park-based enterprise firmed based almost 15 years in the past by Aydin Senkut, has closed its seventh and latest fund with $510 million in capital commitments.
That’s virtually twice what Felicis raised for its final fund, which had initially closed in 2018 with $270 million in capital commitments however wound up garnering $310 million when all was mentioned and accomplished. As notably, each funds are a far leap from the place Felicis began in 2006, when Senkut, a former worldwide gross sales exec with Google, determined to strive his hand at investing utilizing $four million of his personal capital.
After all, each enterprise fund has grown larger lately as extra establishments have regarded to seek out extra methods into what’s been a fast-ballooning personal firm market. Certainly, till fears over the coronavirus abruptly started upending lives across the globe, the market and the cash had largely moved in a single route since 2008. It’s pure to wonder if there’s something significantly completely different taking place at Felicis or if its boat has risen together with the tide.
Naturally, the agency will let you know that it’s completely different. Senkut — helped by companions Wesley Chan, Sundeep Peechu; Wesley Chan; Victoria Treyger; and the agency’s youngest and latest addition, Niki Pezeshki — is aware of making an “antifragile” portfolio, for instance. As Felicis defines it, meaning the agency very deliberately makes uncorrelated bets throughout levels and geographies to bolster its total resiliency.
A part of that technique has led to bets world wide, even whereas Felicis solely has places of work within the Bay Space, together with its Silicon Valley headquarters and an outpost in San Francisco. These far-flung bets — together with the graphic design agency Canva in Australia, the Ottawa-based e-commerce platform Shopify, and the Finnish payments platform Adyen — have arisen largely as a result of Felicis settles on specific themes it needs to pursue, then chases after the workforce tit determines to have the most important benefit over rivals. “We didn’t need to have [global] places of work the place you’re going to see 99 p.c crap deal move in that place,” Senkut instructed us by telephone final week. “We decide the market first, then we decide the founders,” says Senkut.
It’s fairly clearly working, too. In response to Cambridge Associates benchmarks, the agency’s lifetime cash-on-cash a number of throughout all funds was 5.4x as of January 2022, and its first three funds are within the prime decile for his or her respective vintages.
The returns are thanks partly to Adyen and Shopify, each now publicly traded firms. However Felicis has seen a protracted string of different exits, too, together with the IPOs of the blood testing firm Guardant Well being, the wearables firm Fitbit, and the net coaching service Pluralsight.
That’s saying nothing of these of its portfolio firms to get acquired, together with, most not too long ago, Credit Karma, which was simply devoured up by Intuit; Plaid, offered in January to Visa; Ring, offered in 2018 to Amazon, Cruise, sold to General Motors in 2016, and, going farther again, Meraki’s 2012 sale to Cisco.
As for a way its larger fund modifications the equation, Senkut says that Felicis — which had been writing checks as small as $1 million and as massive as $20 million (considered one of these went to Guild Education in 2018) — will now be writing checks of as much as $40 million every now and then.
It did this in late January, in reality, when a enterprise safety video firm known as Verkada closed on $80 million in Collection C funding at a $1.6 billion valuation. It was Felicis that led the spherical.
In any other case, Senkut suggests, Felicis’s plan it to remain the course — and that largely means staying out of founders’ means, apparently.
“VCs are inclined to overrate themselves,” says Senkut, who, it’s value mentioning, tried getting a job with a wide range of conventional enterprise corporations upon leaving Google and was persistently turned away.
“You’re useful when an enormous resolution is getting made or founders need assistance with an enormous rent. However founders construct the businesses,” he continues, recalling his outdated bosses to underscore his level.”The VCs didn’t inform Larry [Page] or Sergey [Brin] something. VCs are simply fortunate to be on the journey.”