Hi all, Julie here.

Every once in a while, I like to ask some of my brightest friends in our industry what’s on their mind. Did DeFi come out of nowhere? Will funding ever slow down? What's the biggest challenge your portfolio companies are facing? I can't think of a better post to close out the year with.

Dive in below to find out what 15 of my friends in the industry are thinking about these days.


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Hot or Not: Geographies

Just like the last time I did this over the summer, people are super bullish on LatAm and North America. Surprisingly though, about an equal number of respondents were bearish on North America as they were bullish. That wasn't the case last time (fewer people were bearish on N.A. in August).

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Hot or Not: Sectors

I changed up my sectors a bit this time, so this isn't an apples to apples comparison to the August survey. But unsurprisingly, the majority of bulls picked Crypto/DeFi and Payments, while the majority of bears went with Insurtech and Real Estate tech.

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Funding and Challenges:

I also asked respondents what they thought the biggest challenge for startups in 2022 would be, and whether they thought the pace of funding would slow down. Roughly one of every four said they think funding will actually slow down in the next 12 months. For challenges, the war for talent was the top answer, and probably doesn't surprise anyone reading this. Note that the "other" for challenges got one response and it was "multiple correction." Interestingly, when asked about the broader public market, people were much less optimistic.

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Surprising Moments

Time for something other than multiple choice or one word answers. What’s been the biggest surprise for this group in 2021?

Amy Cheetham of Costanoa Ventures:

"I sound like a broken record but it's shocking to me how many talented founders started companies. This has been the most prolific period of building I've seen personally."

Bradley Tusk of Tusk Ventures:

"The lack of alignment between the market and all of the people still financially hurt by covid."

Charles Birnbaum of Bessemer Venture Partners:

"How quickly US-based fintech investors shifted their focus overseas and wrote big checks, often after surprisingly limited due diligence."

Charley Ma of Alloy:

Rise of Web3.0 + DeFi"

Mark Batsiyan of Inspired Capital:

"I continue to be amazed by how little regulator activity there has been in crypto markets."

Mark Golderg of Index Ventures:

"The meteoric rise of Web3."

Matt Harris of Bain Capital Ventures:

"Funding timeframes and valuations. I thought we were in an odd place and it got stranger! But it’s exhilarating."

Sheel Mohnot of BTV:

"Rise of DeFi."

Tom Brown of NYCA:

"SF Giants (followed closely by the absence of a coherent policy towards financial services by the Biden Administration)."

Anonymous 1:

"EVERYONE becoming a fintech investor!"

Anonymous 2:

"How much money was invested in tech and fintech. The size and scale of the financings for early stage companies."

Big Prediction of 2022

No, my friends don't have a crystal ball, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to ask them for a big prediction for the New Year :)

Amy Cheetham of Costanoa Ventures:

"Embedded finance will continue its rise to the top as a key way financial services are distributed and consumed."

Bradley Tusk of Tusk Ventures:

"The crypto community will start to realize that being apolitical is potentially devastating and put together a serious lobbying operation."

Charles Birnbaum of Bessemer Venture Partners:

"Given how many TradFi investors have been spending time getting smarter / going deeper on these DeFi themes as the talent continues to flow into that world, there will be some very strong TradFi companies with real traction and momentum that have a tougher time raising capital and hitting their valuation expectations than they have the past few years."

Charley Ma of Alloy:

"Explosion of TradFi + DeFi infrastructure that bridges both worlds."

Mark Batsiyan of Inspired Capital:

"There will be a wave of consolidation amongst growth stage fintechs."

Mark Golderg of Index Ventures:

"Stripe buys OpenSea."

Matt Harris of Bain Capital Ventures:

"The intersection of gaming/gambling/trading/Web3 creates $50B in new equity value."

Tom Brown of NYCA:

"Republicans trounce democrats in the mid-terms, taking both the House and Senate, and Congress passes something like the Safe Act in the lame duck session, allowing banks to bank legal cannabis businesses."

Anonymous 1:

"Stripe buys a BaaS provider."

Anonymous 2:

"Crypto continues to converge with fintech (whether it’s reflected in prices or not). We see more large/strategic M&A in the spirit of the Square/Afterpay deal - whether the market is hot or not."

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