Expert Voices: Upper90's Billy Libby
After a brief hiatus, Expert Voices is back! Today's chat is with Billy Libby, co-founder and CEO of Upper90, a hybrid credit firm.
Why he matters: Upper90 manages and has syndicated over $2.2 billion across 43 portfolio companies and in August raised $180 million for its third fund.
What are a few trends that you've found most fascinating this year?
- Alternative financing: As equity has become more expensive and less available to founders, more founders are aware and thinking about alternative ways that they can finance their business with credit.
- Fintech add-ons: A lot of these vertical companies that have customers are thinking of how to layer on a financing component to that, because the biggest issue with fintech is the cost to acquire customers. ... Fintech almost becomes like just an add-on versus its own thing.
What are you watching for the rest of the year?
- More influencers: I think that all companies are going to have influencers or creators as part of their marketing strategy. I just think that's gonna happen, and that still feels quite nascent.
- Equity hoarding: A lot of these companies raised way too much equity, and so their outcome is like unicorn or bust. And founders, a lot of influencers, are just gonna say, "Who's smarter? The person that owns the majority of their business, that's a $100 million business, or the founder that owns 5%?"
- I think there's gonna be a financing renaissance of how these companies' balance sheets are created. They've all raised way too much equity.