Growth Investing Landscape and Opportunities with Chelsea Stoner
About Chelsea Stoner: Chelsea Stoner is a General Partner at Battery Ventures. She been at Battery for 15 years and is on the Executive Committee, which leads the firm. Chelsea focuses on investments in growth stage software companies and has made investments like Intacct, Avalara, Marketo, SaaSOptics, ClearCare, Real Page, BrightTree, Guidewire and WebPT. Prior to Battery, she held positions with Accenture, Merrill Lynch and private equity firm Key Principal Partners. She received a BS in chemical engineering from Northwestern University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. She also currently sits on the Northwestern University Engineering School Board and the Healthcare Technology Advisory Council for the Cleveland Clinic. Chelsea is coming to us from San Francisco, where she lives with her husband and 2 kids.
Below are the questions we discussed this episode:
1. You are one of the superstar investors who has been behind Battery Ventures some of the largest exits. Growth stage investing is very competitive as more public market investors are entering the investing market. What goes beyond the check that convinces late stage companies to take Battery on CAP Table.
2. Tell us how do you pick winners over the years as you have research intensive thematic investments that is focussed in growth, buyout, private equity in SAAS and healthcare IT sectors.
3. Can you share your learnings from being on the board of these amazing companies? What tips do you want to share to startup founders that are raising their growth rounds.
4. Can you elaborate about the new market opportunities in private growth companies? And how has the market changed in the last 5 years, considering the focus on SPAC and staying private longer?
5. Do you see non-institutional investors moving into later-stage investing since the small cap public equity market is shrinking? How can they do this?
6. You talk about in your blog that in your eighth fund, 24 of the 53 total portfolio companies are outside silicon valley, Boston, NYC. You also partner with local VCs like Canal Partners at Arizona, Arthur Ventures, North Dakota. Can you talk a little bit about such partnerships?
7.. “In areas like the Midwest, or the Southwest, I often find bootstrapped companies that are simply scrappier, hungrier and more focused on bottom-line financials. ….. because some of these companies feel like underdogs, trying to compete with better-funded companies from the coasts—and often succeeding. “ - Chelsea Blog. Do you think COVID19 will create more opportunities for such startups?
8. Has your risk profile changed over the years especially more recently during COVID-19? How important do you feel time-diversification /vintage year is when thinking about a venture-oriented portfolio?
9. As the market tumbled and took a sharp recovery, we are seeing tech stocks rallying higher than other sectorhs. What is the future of growth investing?