Why has the growth of venture capital assets under management (AUM) created new dynamics for founder ownership? How can entrepreneurs take advantage of hybrid capital to make sure they preserve flexibility, optionality, and ownership? What are the key things that private credit firms look for when making investments?
In this 17-minute interview, hosted by Finley Capital Markets team member Trey Cambere, Upper90 Managing Director and CEO Billy Libby explains why, "it's not how much you raise, it's how much you own." He provides examples of companies that have used a combination of debt and equity to avoid dilution, and he explains why "lender skin in the game" can align incentives for companies that traditional capital arrangements can't.
To watch or listen to the interview, check out either of the links below:
What you'll learn
- (1:50) Why credit needs to be a bigger part of the balance sheet for startups
- (2:20) How Billy defines hybrid credit
- (3:00) Why Billy thinks startup founders should ask lenders to have an equity stake in the business
- (5:00) Why the Series A is the most dilutive round, and how founders can preserve more equity ahead of the Series A and Series B
- (6:00) What a day in the life of an investor looks like at Upper90
- (6:50) How Upper90 takes an equity-oriented mindset and helps portfolio companies in ways beyond just providing capital
- (7:55) Why optimizing for the biggest credit facility isn’t always the right move for companies early on
- (8:30) How Finley democratizes services that a startup wouldn’t normally have, but that are available to big banks and enterprise companies
- (8:55) How the debt capital landscape has changed over the last 5 years
- (9:30) One of Billy’s favorite investments, and how Upper90 helped the company save significant equity by using credit strategically
- (11:03) How the debt space could change moving forward, and why it’s currently a 10/10 market for private credit
- (11:43) How credit is temporary and equity is permanent, and how that mindset changes startup capital strategy
- (12:44) Where Fintech is headed after the recent market declines, and where Fintech 3.0 could be headed
- (14:24) Why there’s so little information transparency on capital strategy for startups
- (15:35) Where the name Upper90 comes from
- (16:00) A bit of life and working parent advice for Trey as he and his wife expect their first baby
About Billy Libby and Upper90
Billy Libby is Managing Partner and CEO of Upper90, a leading hybrid credit fund. Upper90 provides tailored credit and equity for alignment in early stage fintech, commerce, supply chain, and marketplace businesses. Founded in 2018 by executives from Seamless-GrubHub and Goldman Sachs, the firm is backed by a strategic investor base of 300 entrepreneurs and manages and has syndicated over $2.2 billion across 48 portfolio companies since inception.
Trey Cambere is on the Capital Markets team at Finley. After graduating from Baylor University with a degree in Economics, Trey started his career at Goldman Sachs where he spent the previous five years working in Specialty Lending operations and Private Wealth Management Private Banking. In his free time Trey enjoys traveling with his wife and playing golf/basketball. Trey has two dogs, Nellie and Dallas, and he and his wife recently had their first child (right after this interview was recorded!).
In addition, Upper90 is a Finley investor and capital provider to several Finley customers.
Want to learn more about Finley?
Finley is debt capital management software that helps high-growth startups save time and money by automating routine credit facility management tasks. Today, Finley manages over $2 billion in debt capital for high-growth fintechs like Ramp, Parafin, and Arc. If you're interested in learning more about software that can help you streamline your debt capital raise and management, just schedule a demo or take a self-guided product tour of Finley. We'd love to chat!