Institutional investor


Institutional investors play an integral role in the allocation of capital, especially in the venture capital and innovation sectors. Let's explore insights from various experts on how institutional investors operate:

  1. Asset Allocation in Ventures:

    • Hussein Kanji explains that the U.S. has a higher institutional investor asset allocation towards venture capital compared to the UK because historically, ventures in the UK failed to scale massively. This lack of success led institutional money to withdraw from European ventures and instead favor more stable private or growth equity investments. The landscape only began to change with globalized distribution platforms enabling companies like Spotify to achieve international scale 1 .
  2. Institutional Capital vs. Private Equity:

    • Thomas Tull distinguishes institutional capital, such as that from endowment funds or large financial firms, from private investment. Institutional investors provide long-term capital, are largely dispassionate, and manage their investments based on performance metrics rather than personal involvement. This contrasts with private equity, which often involves more personal interaction and investment in non-public companies 2 .
  3. Institutional Investors in Crypto:

    • Institutions play a growing role in crypto investment, according to Michael Sonnenshein. His firm, Grayscale, sees diverse types of institutional investors—from hedge funds to pension plans—participating in crypto investments, indicating a broader acceptance and incorporation of crypto assets into diversified portfolios 3 .

      Institutional Investors and Venture Allocation

      Hussein explains how the institutional investors' asset allocation towards venture in the US is greater than in the UK, due to the lack of massively scaling companies in the UK. However, with the global reach of distribution platforms, Europe has seen a shift in building massively scalable businesses. The European startup community has transformed, with numerous examples of success. Hussein and his team recognized this gap and set up a venture fund to connect European companies to the Silicon Valley ecosystem.


      20 VC 086: Starting A New Venture Fund and How London Compares To The US with Hussein Kanji @ Hoxton Ventures
  4. Confidence and Institutional Investment:

    • Cathie Wood highlights that institutional investors often seek regulatory approval or endorsements such as an ETF listing to mitigate risks. These institutions are conservative and prefer to invest in asset classes recognized by authoritative bodies like the SEC, hence their cautious but growing interest in areas like crypto 4 .
  5. General Investment Strategies:

    • Ben Carlson provides perspective on the similarities and differences in investment strategies between large institutional investors and individual investors. He suggests that while the scale of investment may differ, the foundational investment principles like risk assessment and asset allocation apply universally, though institutions arguably have more resources to manage these investments more intricately 5 .

These insights provide a broad perspective on how institutional investors influence major sectors like venture capital, crypto, and equity markets, shaping the financial landscape with their strategic capital allocation and investment decisions.