For Bain Capital Ventures, 'it is 2021 all over again' (well, almost)

Bain Capital Ventures is doubling down on what works, literally. The venture firm, one of Bain’s 11 financial divisions, has raised $1.9 billion across two funds, one for seed to growth-stage startups that hovers around $1.4 billion, and one for later-stage opportunities that closed around a third of that, at $493 million.

The capital total is a staggering 46% increase from its last set of funds, closed in May 2021 at $1.3 billion. Additionally, Bain Capital Crypto closed a $500 million fund in March 2022, and the firm announced a $2.4 billion Tech Opportunities fund earlier this month.

With BCV’s total funds under management now at $12 billion, there’s a lot going on for the firm. It continues to back startups in the fintech, infrastructure, apps and commerce-tech space. Luckily, explains partner Kevin Zhang, BCV may need the extra capital considering the way prices are trending.

Zhang explained that the early-stage venture landscape has been “unseasonably warm,” with multiple seed deals for pre-product or pre-commercial teams in the $30 to $40 million post-money valuation range.

“It’s 2021 all over again,” he said. Zhang thinks that other VCs are returning to investing after taking the second half of 2021 off, adding that "there’s a bit of a flight to quality, so most of the pedigree investments, whether they were the right investments, there’s fewer of them in the market so the other companies are just getting bid up very aggressively.” For context, 90% of the deals that BCV did last year were in seed stage or Series A companies.

Merritt Hummer, BCV partner, added that there’s also been more activity in the late-stage world in the last few weeks than there was in most of 2022.

While some aspects of fund building are warming up, others are slowing down or staying consistent. Hummer explained that the firm is enjoying the longer due diligence cycles, and that taking more time to make decisions is “going to be the biggest change in terms of how we deploy these funds.”

In its last fund, Bain Capital Ventures previously committed between $20 million to $30 million in capital to emerging seed fund managers. To date, BCV has backed more than 80 seed funds. Despite today’s increase in fund size across these two new vehicles, the amount of capital that is being dedicated to the program will remain consistent, a spokesperson tells TechCrunch.

“We do suspect that [emerging fund] manager fundraising will decline,” Zhang said, saying he knows several managers who have opted to raise smaller debut or follow-on funds. “So we think even a constant dollar commitment will end up representing a large portion of ecosystem LP dollars.”