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2017 Entrepreneur
Survey
June 2017
Jason Caplain David Jones
jason@bcvp.com david@bcvp.com
Growth & Fundraising Continue in 2017
Bull City Venture Partners presents our 2017 Entrepreneur Survey. The report highlights the health of the startup
tech landscape in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic US.
2017 is showing some return to normalcy for the venture market. Valuation metrics are off of 2014-2015 peaks and
approaching longer term 15 year averages. VC activity defined by the number of deals and deal value are also
showing declines in 2017.
Almost half the number of companies we surveyed were seed stage companies. The dynamics are changing with the
number of seed rounds continuing to drop. However, the seed round size continues to increase at almost 40%
annually.
We’ve also seen another powerful change with product and marketing driving more sales. Slide #8 shows a decrease
in the amount of sales hires and an increase in marketing. We think this is part of a trend that could continue.
We also continuing to see a return to a focus on solid unit economics for a business as opposed to growth at all costs.
With that, we’d like to present our 2017 Entrepreneur Survey. We leveraged our network and surveyed tech CEOs in
the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic US.
With their help, we are able to report their performance, their view of the market and what they are thinking about
most.
We appreciate the input from all the CEOs that participated.
Jason Caplain & David Jones
General Partners, Bull City Venture Partners @bcvp
3
OVERVIEW OF THE RESPONDENTS
10m+
7%5 - 10m
8%
1 -3 m
11%
3 - 5m
15%
Under 1m
59%
REVENUE STAGE LAST ROUND COMPLETED
Series D
3%
Series C
9%
Series B
8%
Series A
12%
Never Raised
23%
Seed
45%
100+
5%
50-100
15%
25-50
9%
10-25
21%
Under 10
49%
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES
4
100+
53%
75-100
7%
40-75%
14%
20-40%
16%
Under 20%
10%
2016
100%+
50%
75-100%
14%
40-75%
13%
20-40%
15%
Under 20%
8%
2017
Startups are
projecting faster
growth in 2017
The number of companies
growing 40-75% has declined,
but the number of companies
growing 75-100% has more
than doubled from 2016-2017.
For 2017, over 90% of the
companies surveyed are
forecasting to grow at least
20%.
How fast are you forecasting to grow?
5
Yes
56%
No
44%
2016
Yes
72%
No
28%
2017
But they will
require raising
more capital this
year to keep that
growth up
The survey showed a
staggering 400% increase in
the number of $500k - $1m
rounds anticipated, and a 70%
increase in the number of $5-
$10m rounds
88% of Virginia-based
companies surveyed will be
fundraising in 2017. This was
more than any other state
surveyed. It may speak to that
region’s stronger access to
capital.
Are you planning to fundraise?
6
Nearly Imposible
2%
Easy
13%
Hard
32%
Medium
53%
2016
Nearly Impossible
4%
Easy
8%
Hard
33%
Medium
55%
2017The CEOs are
conf ident in
being able to
fundraise in 2017
Most of the numbers stayed
consistent from 2016 to 2017.
However, there was some
consensus that fundraising will
be harder in 2017.
How hard will it be to fundraise?
In a year of a
new President,
economic impact
is the least of
their concerns
65% of those surveyed are
concerned about revenue
growth followed by hiring good
people.
What are your biggest concerns in 2017?
7
0%
17.5%
35%
52.5%
70%
Revenue
Grow
th
Hiring
Good
PeopleRaising
Follow
On
Capital
Custom
erChurn
Com
petitionEconom
icIm
pactto
the
Business
8
0%
12.5%
25%
37.5%
50%
Sales Development Marketing
2016 2017
With their
conf idence and
the new capital,
comes more
executive hires &
a ramp in
marketing spend
The marketing departments
will see the greatest increase
in 2017. Those positions
include CMO, VP of Marketing
and head of demand
generation as examples.
Sales hires dropped by almost
40%.
Additionally with new capital
companies are planning to
boost their teams at the most
senior levels this year. Almost
15% of companies reported
wanting to hire at least 1 C-
level executive to the team in
2017.
What is your most critical hire in 2017?
9
What entrepreneur do you admire most?
Elon wins
again!
Elon was mentioned by 20% of
the entrepreneurs, up slightly
from last year at 18%. Others
mentioned include Jeff Bezos,
Mark Zuckerberg, Marc
Benioff and Satya Nadella.

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2017 BCVP Entrepreneur Survey

  • 1. 2017 Entrepreneur Survey June 2017 Jason Caplain David Jones jason@bcvp.com david@bcvp.com
  • 2. Growth & Fundraising Continue in 2017 Bull City Venture Partners presents our 2017 Entrepreneur Survey. The report highlights the health of the startup tech landscape in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic US. 2017 is showing some return to normalcy for the venture market. Valuation metrics are off of 2014-2015 peaks and approaching longer term 15 year averages. VC activity defined by the number of deals and deal value are also showing declines in 2017. Almost half the number of companies we surveyed were seed stage companies. The dynamics are changing with the number of seed rounds continuing to drop. However, the seed round size continues to increase at almost 40% annually. We’ve also seen another powerful change with product and marketing driving more sales. Slide #8 shows a decrease in the amount of sales hires and an increase in marketing. We think this is part of a trend that could continue. We also continuing to see a return to a focus on solid unit economics for a business as opposed to growth at all costs. With that, we’d like to present our 2017 Entrepreneur Survey. We leveraged our network and surveyed tech CEOs in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic US. With their help, we are able to report their performance, their view of the market and what they are thinking about most. We appreciate the input from all the CEOs that participated. Jason Caplain & David Jones General Partners, Bull City Venture Partners @bcvp
  • 3. 3 OVERVIEW OF THE RESPONDENTS 10m+ 7%5 - 10m 8% 1 -3 m 11% 3 - 5m 15% Under 1m 59% REVENUE STAGE LAST ROUND COMPLETED Series D 3% Series C 9% Series B 8% Series A 12% Never Raised 23% Seed 45% 100+ 5% 50-100 15% 25-50 9% 10-25 21% Under 10 49% NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES
  • 4. 4 100+ 53% 75-100 7% 40-75% 14% 20-40% 16% Under 20% 10% 2016 100%+ 50% 75-100% 14% 40-75% 13% 20-40% 15% Under 20% 8% 2017 Startups are projecting faster growth in 2017 The number of companies growing 40-75% has declined, but the number of companies growing 75-100% has more than doubled from 2016-2017. For 2017, over 90% of the companies surveyed are forecasting to grow at least 20%. How fast are you forecasting to grow?
  • 5. 5 Yes 56% No 44% 2016 Yes 72% No 28% 2017 But they will require raising more capital this year to keep that growth up The survey showed a staggering 400% increase in the number of $500k - $1m rounds anticipated, and a 70% increase in the number of $5- $10m rounds 88% of Virginia-based companies surveyed will be fundraising in 2017. This was more than any other state surveyed. It may speak to that region’s stronger access to capital. Are you planning to fundraise?
  • 6. 6 Nearly Imposible 2% Easy 13% Hard 32% Medium 53% 2016 Nearly Impossible 4% Easy 8% Hard 33% Medium 55% 2017The CEOs are conf ident in being able to fundraise in 2017 Most of the numbers stayed consistent from 2016 to 2017. However, there was some consensus that fundraising will be harder in 2017. How hard will it be to fundraise?
  • 7. In a year of a new President, economic impact is the least of their concerns 65% of those surveyed are concerned about revenue growth followed by hiring good people. What are your biggest concerns in 2017? 7 0% 17.5% 35% 52.5% 70% Revenue Grow th Hiring Good PeopleRaising Follow On Capital Custom erChurn Com petitionEconom icIm pactto the Business
  • 8. 8 0% 12.5% 25% 37.5% 50% Sales Development Marketing 2016 2017 With their conf idence and the new capital, comes more executive hires & a ramp in marketing spend The marketing departments will see the greatest increase in 2017. Those positions include CMO, VP of Marketing and head of demand generation as examples. Sales hires dropped by almost 40%. Additionally with new capital companies are planning to boost their teams at the most senior levels this year. Almost 15% of companies reported wanting to hire at least 1 C- level executive to the team in 2017. What is your most critical hire in 2017?
  • 9. 9 What entrepreneur do you admire most? Elon wins again! Elon was mentioned by 20% of the entrepreneurs, up slightly from last year at 18%. Others mentioned include Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Marc Benioff and Satya Nadella.