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The Weekend Pitch
February 11, 2024
Presented by Masterworks
(Mara Potter/PitchBook News)
Two weeks ago, London-based VC firm Plural raised its second and largest fund to date. The close was noteworthy not just because it defies a dismal VC fundraising environment, but also that it came from one of the few operator VCs present in Europe.

An operator VC is a firm that is typically launched by former startup founders, as opposed to investor VCs that tend to be led by financial professionals. Some of the best-known names in the venture world, including Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel, created businesses before launching their own funds.

Operator VCs have been around for as long as Silicon Valley in the US, but the concept is less established in Europe. Only around 8% of the region's VC firms have former operators at their helm, compared to as much as half of US VCs.

That large gap begs the question, why are so few European founders willing to take the leap into VC?

This is the Weekend Pitch, and I'm Leah Hodgson. You can reach me at leah.hodgson@pitchbook.com or on X @LeahFHodgson.
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A message from Masterworks  
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Thanks to last year's interest rate hikes, investors can finally earn more on their cash than the .01% rate their checking account was giving them. But while having a "risk free" return seems comforting, there's a hidden cost banks don't want you to consider: opportunity.

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Past performance is not indicative of future returns. Investing involves risk. See Important disclosures at www.masterworks.com/cd
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Trivia

(Eugene Mymrin/Getty Images)
Enterprise fintech has been on a roll, eating up more VC dollars than its retail counterpart, with deal value up 19.6% in Q4. Across 304 deals, how much deal value was generated within the enterprise fintech vertical in Q4?

A) $2.7 billion
B) $3.8 billion
C) $6.9 billion
D) $4.7 billion

Find your answer at the bottom of The Weekend Pitch!
 

A big chill for PE players in healthcare services

(Ollo/Getty Images)
PE dealmaking in healthcare services is still on ice. Healthcare services companies made up 20% of leveraged loan default value in 2023, and large deals remain difficult to finance, according to our latest Healthcare Services Report.

In 2024, rainmakers will be closely following possible interest rate cuts and antitrust scrutiny targeted at PE healthcare services as they wait for more favorable exit opportunities
 

As VC valuations slump, young startups remain attractive

(BeeBright/Getty Images)
In 2023, US VC valuations slumped from their 2021 and early 2022 peaks. However, pre-seed and seed deal prices remained stable thanks to high investor interest in young startups.

While IPO activity was minimal and debut valuations hit record lows, valuations of acquisitions increased from the prior year, according to our 2023 Annual US VC Valuations Report, sponsored by Morgan Stanley At Work and Mintz.
 

Fund performance floats toward normality

(Jonathan Knowles/Getty Images)
Fund performance took a nosedive early last year. But preliminary data for H2 2023 shows that it may have come up for air at the end of the year.

Our latest Global Fund Performance Report shows that in H1 2023, PE, VC and private debt funds underperformed historical returns. PE, in particular, returned only 6.6% for the year through June—well below its historical average of 16.4% over the past decade.

But air bubbles are beginning to show at the surface. Early Q3 data demonstrates potential write-ups in asset values and elevated fund performance could follow suit.
 

Quote/Unquote

(Paper Boat Creative/Getty Images)
"We tell our companies to stay the hell away from corporates because there's a litany of reasons not to take corporate venture capital."

—Kirby Winfield, founding general partner at Ascend, talking to PitchBook News about corporate investors pouring money into the generative AI vertical.
 

Stay tuned

Keep an eye out for these insights and research reports coming out this week:
  • Q4 2023 Gaming Report
  • Q4 2023 Crypto Report
  • Q1 2024 Quantitative Perspectives: US Market Insights
  • Analyst Note: Fintech M&A
 

Trivia

Answer: D)

All told, $4.7 billion was generated in deal value within the enterprise fintech vertical. You can read more about the trends, deals and opportunities in the space in our Q4 2023 Enterprise Fintech Report.

This edition of The Weekend Pitch was written by Leah Hodgson, Jessica Hamlin, Marina Temkin, Jacob Robbins and Rosie Bradbury. It was edited by Andrew Woodman and Ron Prichard.

Were you forwarded The Weekend Pitch? Sign up at pitchbook.com/subscribe.
 
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