79: The anatomy of busts: comparing the VC market across three cycles | Kealan Doyle of Symvan Capital

25 Jul 2023 / Podcast Tax Advantaged

By Dr Brian Moretta

Symvan Capital

When planning this episode, Kealan Doyle of Symvan Capital told a story about a venture capital conference where the compère asked who had been through a downturn before and nobody raised their hands. So we decided to discuss the last couple of venture capital cycles and how previous downturns compare with the current one. We also talk about some of the secular changes that have taken place over this period.

We start by looking back to the .com bubble at the turn of the century. We examine some of its main features, including how much of the action took place in quoted markets and the limited effects on the economy.

Next we look at the Great Recession. Although driven by the collapse in housing, particularly in the US, it affected every asset market. We go through the main features, including how venture capital saw a big downturn and, initially, a long slow recovery.

We then briefly go through what happened in the past decade and how the current downturn came about. We talk about valuations, supply of capital and the unevenness of the current market. We also take our lives in our hands and speculate about how the VC market will develop over the next couple of years.

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Kealan Doyle is CEO and co-founder of Symvan Capital. He has worked with venture capital companies for 15 years, both in a corporate finance advisory capacity as well as a fund manager. He prefers to invest in a wide range of technology companies, but is also very interested in finding synergies within the Symvan portfolio of companies. Company interests include big data analytics, fintech, SaaS, 3D printing and network security. Before his involvement in venture capital investing, Kealan previously led a structured equity products team at HSBC, and has worked at Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch and UBS. Together with Nicholas, he has since founded his own entrepreneurial businesses to focus on VC investing. Kealan holds degrees from the London School of Economics and the University of Toronto.