Why it's hard to get funding from local VCs once you've raised elsewhere - Technical.ly Philly

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Mar. 18, 2015 9:09 am

Why it’s hard to get funding from local VCs once you’ve raised elsewhere

“Local VCs don't want to end up like local investment bank stock underwriters, settling for crumbs of deals made in New York or Silicon Valley.”

Bob Moul at the city's StartUp PHL announcement, October 2012.

(Photo by Kait Privitera for City of Philadelphia)

Bob Moul is once again making the funding rounds for his startup Artisan Mobile, as a follow-up to the company’s $5.5 million Series A that closed in the summer of 2013.

According to one local venture capitalist, as reported by the Inquirer, he’s not finding the money he needs in Philly. (Moul didn’t comment to the Inquirer about specifics, like if he’s even looking to raise locally, but said that the East Coast is tough for fundraising. He declined to comment to us as well.) Nothing new there — it’s been a constant refrain from entrepreneurs that there’s not enough local venture dollars.

But one point from an anonymous venture capitalist struck us: Artisan raised its Series A from New York City investors and it’s hard to get Philly investors to “come in for seconds” if they weren’t part of the first round. From the story (emphasis ours):

“Everyone loves Bob,” this principal said. “We all want him to succeed. But he went to Firstmark. And he’s spent a lot of money, and now he needs more,” and any local investors who felt bypassed the first time will want advantageous terms — a bigger piece of the action, not the usual smaller piece the second time out — at the least. Local VCs don’t want to end up like local investment bank stock underwriters, settling for crumbs of deals made in New York or Silicon Valley. So it makes sense for firms like Artisan to seek help out of town.

Isn’t that problematic?

Read the full story

Where do Philly startups get their Series B funding? A cursory glance shows that the last three startups that closed Series B ramp-up rounds mostly stuck with their Series A investors.

  • RJMetrics: led by new investor, Menlo Park, Calif.-based August Capital, with participation from West Coast Series A investors Trinity Ventures and SoftTech VC
  • Zonoff: led by Virginia-based Series A investors Valhalla Partners and Grotech Ventures
  • Curalate: led by Series A investor NEA (Silicon Valley-based with offices in New York and elsewhere), with participation from Philly Series A investors First Round Capital and MentorTech Ventures, though Curalate added a new investor in its Series B: NYC-based Gary Vaynerchuk

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes began as lead reporter at Technical.ly Philly in July 2012. Previously, she was a city services beat reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, as part of a project called “It’s Our Money.” She is learning to drive, learning to bike (in the city) but is an expert at taking SEPTA. She grew up in North Jersey and Manila, Philippines but she left the tropics for Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in linguistics. She now lives in West Philly.

  • Casually Observing

    Company raises an A Round. Goes back to the well and complains that Philly investors don’t want in. That’s not an indictment of Philly investors. That’s a reflection of a company that didn’t get traction. As for Philly investors, you will get crumbs if you don’t step up and lead seeds. There’s one or possibly two legit seed stage VCs in Philly. Everyone else pretends to want to do early deals but wants series A traction at seed prices. How’s that adverse selection working out for you?

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