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Profile of SPVs in the U.S. Mountain Region

Oct 24, 2022 11:05:12 AM | Assure Analytics

 

This post is part of a series of SPV market profiles for U.S. regions between the coasts. It’s intended to provide a set of SPV benchmarks for specific areas of the country that can inform organizers and investors in those geographies. It builds on the market-wide standards detailed in Assure Analytics’ State of the SPV report earlier this year.

U.S. Mountain has been defined here as Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.

Mountain West SPVs - Regional Map

Although frequently overshadowed by the financial powerhouses on the East and West coasts, the U.S. Mountain region is hardly lacking in investment activity.

Pitchbook and NVCA reported 1,152 startup deals in the region in 2021, representing nearly $17B in deal value. And despite broad reporting of startup deal declines in 2022, the Mountain region is tracking to just under half of 2021’s deal count through 1H of this year. (Deal value is shying significantly from 2021’s record-breaking levels, but has already surpassed the total for all of 2020.)

The region is also showing promising signs of growth: many of the fastest growing cities from the last couple years are situated in the Mountain region (think greater Phoenix, Las Vegas, and parts of Idaho). Plus, markets like Salt Lake City climbed Startup Blinks’ global rankings of startup ecosystems very significantly over the last year (24 spots).

However, Mountain SPVs still only represent about 5%-10% of those reported on in Assure Analytics’ State of the SPV, meaning deal terms and norms could differ greatly from the marketwide trends.

With this in mind, the following charts provide more granular insight into SPV activity in the U.S. Mountain region.

Organizer Types

SPVs in the Mountain region are leveraged by many different organizer types. Although Syndicate Funds, VC Firms, and Individuals account for a large portion of SPVs (49%), the concentration is much lower than in other regions (where these 3 organizer types account for just under three-quarters of the SPV count).

The “other” organizer category plays a much heavier role in the Mountain region than the rest of the U.S. This encompasses everything from private credit funds to RIAs to digital asset investment firms.

Mountain West SPVs - View by Organizer Type

SPV Size

SPVs raised in the U.S. Mountain region tend to be smaller than those raised by organizers elsewhere. The median Mountain SPV collects $158K compared to $480K in other regions. Similarly, the average Mountain SPV raises $1.1M, versus about $2M elsewhere.

Mountain West SPVs - SPV Size

Investor Participation

The typical Mountain SPV raises from just 6 to 10 investors, putting the region on the tighter-investor network side of the spectrum. For reference, in other geographies the median SPV raises from 12 investors and the average from 24 – about 2X the Mountain standard.

Mountain West SPVs - Investor Count

On average, a Mountain SPV collects roughly $106K per investor. This compares to $321K in the rest of the U.S.

MountainSPVs-CapitalPerInvestor

Mountain SPVs also tend to set accessible investment minimums, with the average at $52K and the median at just $5K. This makes Mountain SPVs a viable entry ticket for newer or smaller investors looking to gain exposure to the private markets. In the rest of the U.S. the average investment minimum is $95K and the median $10K.

Mountain West SPVs - Investment Minimums

Asset Deployment

The median Mountain SPV deploys capital into its first asset just 39 days after forming the vehicle. This is roughly on-par with other regions (3 days slower).

MountainSPVs-DeploymentSpeed

Mountain SPVs are slightly more likely to be multi-asset than in other regions: 31% have purchased multiple assets compared to 25% of SPVs in the rest of the U.S.

Mountain SPVs - Asset Composition within SPVs

Like SPVs everywhere, Mountain SPVs lean heavily into traditional startup purchase agreements (SAFEs, Convertible Notes, Stock/Secondary sales), but have a slightly larger presence of other agreement types, corresponding to the greater presence of non-startup organizer types in the region. These other purchase agreements encompass everything from real estate to crypto tokens to collectibles.

Mountain SPVs - Purchase Agreements

Management Fees

Although management fees are rare across the U.S., Mountain SPVs are exceptionally unlikely to charge a management fee: just 3%. This means most of the organizer’s compensation for forming the SPV comes in the form of carry if the investment is successful. 

When Mountain SPVs do charge a management fee, the average fee is 3.1% over the lifetime of the SPV and the median is 1.3%. This compares to an average of 3.1% and a median of 1.9% for SPVs in other regions.

Mountain SPVs - Chart of Management Fees


Subscribe to Assure Analytics to get updates as we release more data-driven articles and reports. This post is part of a series exploring SPVs between the coasts; the next article will look at SPVs in the Southeast.

 

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