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Expert Voices: Upper90's Billy Libby

Oct 11, 2022
Photo illustration of Billy Libby and abstract shapes.

Photo illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios. Photo: courtesy of Upper90

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
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