Venture debt doldrums

Few options left for startups


Happy Monday. Here’s what we’ve got today…

  • A look at challenges in the venture debt market

  • The deal sheet, plus Calpers’ latest private markets push


Financial modeing with Macabacus

From spinning up complex models to creating branded presentations, private equity professionals work faster with Macabacus.

Macabacus is the leading Microsoft Office add-in for private equity teams. Get hours back in your day while delivering accurate analysis and presentations every time.

What’s to love about Macabacus:

  • Link Excel to PowerPoint

  • Access 100s of custom shortcuts

  • Highlight formula errors automatically

  • Share templates through cloud libraries

Despite increased demand, venture debt proves elusive

By Bob Clair

The fallout from the Silicon Valley Bank failure, elevated interest rates, and recently inflated valuations have made venture debt difficult to obtain for early-stage companies.

Now, even investment from top venture firms — something that would have opened the door to venture debt in the past — is often not enough, market participants told Transacted.

“A couple of years ago, if you had a tier-one investor like Andreesen or Sequoia, you got venture debt without even trying,” said Nelson Chu, CEO of private credit marketplace Percent.

Now, however, many startups have found venture debt is simply no longer an option.

Angela Lee, professor of venture capital at Columbia Business School and the founder of startup investment network 37 Angels, says the current environment has led to a unique situation in which “the demand for venture debt is even higher because other sources of fundraising are hampered.”

Lee explains that many lenders are still cleaning up from the excesses of 2020 - 2022, when startups took on debt at peak valuations. Now that the market has retrenched, many venture debt providers are stuck with challenged loans—often, the only viable option is to amend and extend.

Valuation pressures haven’t been the only drag on venture debt issuance: the other key catalyst was the March 2023 collapse of SVB, which held a 50 percent market share. The firm’s sudden retreat left a $6.7 billion hole in the market, which posted a 38 percent year-over-year decline in the same quarter.

Marshall Hawks, head of relationship management for SVB, says that despite last year’s challenges, 85 percent of SVB’s clients have continued to do business with the firm.

The bank feels “very fortunate to be back in business as part of First Citizens,” he adds. In the second half of 2023, SVB’s Tech and Healthcare Banking team made more than 500 new loans totaling more than $3 billion in commitments to new and existing clients.

Even with positive signals from SVB, Lee cautions that startups should expect a prolonged period of debt financing challenges. Including, she adds, tougher covenants going forward.

But, Lee believes that the biggest impact is still simply higher interest rates.

“Unless the Fed does something dramatic with interest rates, which I do not think will happen, venture debt will be difficult to raise for the foreseeable future,” Lee said.


Ardian, KKR, and Global Infrastructure Partners are each considering potential bids for XpFibre, the Patrick Drahi-owned fiber-to-the-home French infrastructure operator, whose minority owners include Allianz Capital Partners and OMERS Infrastructure Management.

TDR Capital is in talks to acquire a minority stake in Asda, the U.K.'s third-largest supermarket chain, from Zuber Issa, co-CEO and co-founder of EG Group.

Blackstone offered to acquire Hipgnosis Songs Fund, a music catalog royalty fund, for $1.5 billion — above last week's $1.4 billion offer from Apollo portfolio company Concord.

MBK Partners is in negotiations over a deal to acquire a majority stake in Geo-Young, the largest medicine wholesaler in South Korea, from Blackstone for over $1 billion.

Quanex Building Products has agreed to acquire Tyman, a supplier of engineered components for doors and windows, for $1.1 billion.

TA Associates and LEA Partners are considering exit options for Chaos Group, a developer of 3D visualization technology, that could be worth around €1 billion, per Bloomberg.

Partners Group is considering exit options for its portfolio company Form Technologies, a provider of engineering and manufacturing services, that is facing a $900 million debt maturity next year, per Bloomberg.

TotalEnergies acquired a 50 percent stake in SapuraOMV, an upstream oil and gas producer, from Sapura Energy for $705 million.

Cyber Advisors, a technology consulting firm backed by Goldner Hawn, acquired S&L Computer Services, an IT services and solutions provider for SMBs.

Eurazeo acquired a majority stake in Eres Group, an administrator of employee profit sharing plans, from IK Partners.

Valsoft, a vertical market software company backed by Coatue and Viking Global Investors, acquired Trendex, a White Plains, New York-based provider of sales management software solutions.


CVC Capital Partners set the price range for its upcoming Amsterdam IPO at an implied market value of €13 to €15 billion ahead of a planned launch on Friday.


Tech, Vertical SaaS, & Misc. Enterprise

VulnCheck, a developer of exploit intelligence and vulnerability management software, raised $7.95 million in Seed funding from Sorenson Capital.

Accacia, an AI-enabled SaaS platform focused on real estate decarbonization, raised $6.5 million in pre-Series A funding led by Illuminate Financial, with participation from AC Ventures, Accel, and B Capital.


Payflows, a Paris-based developer of back-office financial automation tools, raised €25 million in Series A funding led by Balderton Capital, with participation from Ribbit Capital, Headline, 20VC, and Galeries Lafayette's family offices.

Centrifuge, a decentralized finance platform focused on real-world assets, raised $15 million in Series A funding led by ParaFi Capital and Greenfield, with participation from Circle Ventures, IOSG Ventures, Arrington Capital, Spartan Group, and Wintermute Ventures.

Media & Consumer

Midas, a Turkish retail investment app, raised $45 million in Series A funding led by Portage, with participation from International Finance Corporation, Spark Capital, Earlybird Digital East Fund, and Revo Capital.


Rubedo Life Sciences, a developer of therapeutics targeting senescent cells for age-related diseases, raised $40 million in Series A funding. Khosla Ventures and Ahren Innovation led, with participation from Hevolution, R42, Modi Ventures, Cerigo Investments, Shanda Group, Refactor Capital, LongeVC, and Italian Angels for Growth.

AccessHope, a large employer-focused cancer care benefits provider, raised $33 million in Series B funding from City of Hope.

Smart Reporting, a developer of medical imaging software, raised €23 million in Series C funding. TVM Capital Life Science led, with participation from Bayern Kapital.

Industrials, Greentech, & Other

UniUni, a Canadian e-commerce logistics company, raised $50 million in Series C funding led by DCM, with participation from Celtic House Venture Partners.


Hudson Bay Capital Management raised a new $800 million special situations fund.

GEF Capital Partners raised $325 million for its second climate-focused buyout fund.

TLcom Capital raised $154 million for its second venture fund.


1. Calpers to invest more than $30bn in private markets.

• Decision to raise allocation to private equity and other assets comes after fund missed out on up to $18bn of returns — Financial Times


Interested in partnering with Transacted? If you’re a brand looking to connect with an engaged financial audience, we’re here for it. Please reach out. 

Got a tip or an idea for a story? Email [email protected], or Tweet/DM @transactedInc