The Capital Efficent Start-Up

Over the past few years, SASI has met with numerous startups and we have seen a movement towards the capital efficient start-up. In short, we are seeing startups doing more with less capital and exploring earlier exits through M&A. While there is no shortage of large rounds being raised by companies that are “swinging for the fences”, there is also a number of startups that are developing disruptive technologies and gaining initial customers with invested capital in the single-digit millions. While some of these companies may step up and do a significant later round, others will likely exit through M&A, providing a healthy return to the investors. Specifically, we see this trend in storage related startups that are targeting well-defined markets with specific areas ripe for disruption. These markets tend to have a few, well-capitalized competitors with significant channel/brand power and customer control/lock-in. For these capital efficient startups it is often a question of the additional risk and related ROI tied to spending significant capital on sales, marketing and channel development vs. remaining mainly focused on product development and initial customer evaluations. We see this new type of “Small Ball Venture” existing alongside the current venture model. From another perspective, one could argue that this new model is really a throwback to the early days of venture investing before the mega funds.

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