Strategic Approaches for Emerging Markets Early Stage Funds in 2023

In the complex and multifaceted realm of venture capital and startups in 2023 post 2022 slow down, emerging markets present a unique set of opportunities and challenges. A significant challenge is the potential diminution of later-stage follow-on funds and a concurrent decline in the quality of later-stage investors. This situation can engender a funding gap for startups in their growth phase and a dearth of strategic guidance. However, through strategic planning and innovative thinking, early-stage funds can effectively navigate these challenges.

When later-stage capital becomes scarce, it can create a funding vacuum that hampers the growth trajectory of startups, potentially leading to a deceleration in the overall startup ecosystem. The decline in the quality of later-stage investors can exacerbate this situation (based on performance and just the law of large numbers). In such a scenario, early-stage funds need to adopt a proactive and innovative approach. Here are some strategies:

  1. Strategic Partnerships: Early-stage funds should seek alliances with firstly your limited partners, corporate investors, family offices, or other entities that have a vested interest in the startup ecosystem. These partners can provide not only capital but also strategic guidance, market access, and other resources. Focus and Lean on your Limited Partners, especially those who are financially driven not just strategic.

  2. Syndicate Investments: Early-stage funds should consider forming syndicates with other early-stage investors. Syndicates allow investors to pool their resources, share risks, and increase the total amount of capital available for follow-on rounds.

  3. Investor Relations: Early-stage funds should maintain strong relationships with existing investors and continuously engage with potential new investors. Regularly communicating portfolio companies' progress and milestones can help attract follow-on investments. 

  4. Continue to focus on Capital Efficiency (from 2022): Early-stage funds should work closely with their portfolio companies to improve their capital efficiency. Adopt an advisory mindset builds trust and results.