Our startup exits - the winners & the losers (so far)
Here at Cur8 Capital we have a portfolio of over 50 startups. Typically it can take a startup between 5 to 10 years to sell or exit enabling you to see a return on investment. However, along the way you do typically see smaller exits (through buyouts) and failures happening.
These are very helpful as they indicate that you are on the right investment path. After all, people shooting for the stars regularly fail - so you want to see some of that to confirm you are being ambitious enough about your investing. And larger companies only buy smaller companies with potential or whom they see as a threat - again a very good validation for an investment strategy.
It is still early days with our broader (unexited) portfolio but we can already see there are 4 breakout companies who have already netted us multiples of 3-5x on what we invested and are still going strong. We are hopeful that some or all of these can continue their trajectory and get us >10x multiples.
Here are the exits we've had thus far:
An artificial intelligence-based drug discovery platform.
We were the only institutional investor and the company has was bought out by a large listed company in less than a year due to the impressive technology they had built. The buyer was actually a client of Glamorous prior to the buyout.
Return: 2.5x return, or 150% over 10 months.
A hotel revenue platform with real time business intelligence.
PACE got acquired by a much larger startup focused on airline price optimisation. We were disappointed to sell as we think PACE has a lot of potential to grow still.
Return: 3.5x or 250% over 2 years
We think failure in venture is just as important. We have seen one company fold and learnt some valuable lessons in the process:
A community forum / Quora for minority communities
Return: -30% in 2 years (70% of investments recuperated through tax breaks)
Lesson learnt: The founders were great - one of them is now head of sales at another of our startups which is a break-out company. But where we misstepped was (a) we didn't fund the team enough to give them sufficient runway and ability to build out a proper team; and (b) we should have challenged them harder to pivot earlier.
So how do you invest in a winner?
Typically only a small percentage of startups succeed - you can improve your odds by investing with experienced investors such as through a syndicate or a fund like Cur8. Startups are a risky investment and not for the faint hearted, but as you can see from the data, there is an opportunity to win big if you invest in the right startup.