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Higher US Fed interest rates will hit startups over the head

Charlie Clark Silver badge

Not sure what the point of this post is. The Fed's rate rise just put a floor under the price of money. This has less of an impact on investment (money isn't moving from start-ups to government bonds) than it does on debt. Since 2008 central banks have engaged on huge policies of financial repression combing both low interest rates with money-printing to privilege debt. It was this which helped maintain and then pump up asset prices without any associated economic growth (this was supposed to come from the wealth effect that asset inflation is supposed to bring).

The current market uncertainties have little or nothing to do with interest rates but the resurgence of "risk-off" strategies moving hot money from one economy (China, Brazil, Russia) to another (US, Euro) with an associated correction of some asset values. Cue howls from the finance industry. I wouldn't mind so much about that if it didn't mean that central banks trying more of the same (driving interest rates negative such as in Sweden and Japan): in a risk-off environment this can only drive more money into "safer" bets such as US treasuries, or pushing string as the head of one bank put it.

So, the problem for start-ups isn't necessarily that there is less VC cash around but that the exit strategies are less lucrative: IPO or buyout. Not to worry, however, the financial industry will continue to lobby for the public to take on more of the risk (eg. by accepting bonds as collateral) so that valuations can be more or less maintained until that all-important IPO or sale.

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