In 2022, we committed more than $1B in capital across 96 new and follow-on deals—bringing our total active portfolio companies to 230. Our team made countless introductions and connections over the year, offering steady guidance to our community as we prepared to navigate potentially choppy waters together. From our 60+ years of experience, we’ve learned that economic downturns pass, but the disruptive businesses built during them endure.
This year was our latest opportunity to deliver on the Norwest promise to help our portfolio succeed in every stage of their journey. We leaned on our talented network for advice, kept an ear to the ground on happenings in the venture ecosystem, and showed up for each other because providing the right support takes many different forms.
With 2023 in sight, our partners have shared their insights for the new year and what they foresee happening in their industries.
“As the economy falls deeper into a recession and inflation stays stubbornly high, more consumers will be open to side hustles, gig economy jobs, and monetizing their unused assets in order to make additional income and make expenses meet. Look for a resurgence in collaborative consumption habits driving a renaissance of sharing economy companies akin to 2008-2012.”
Read more from Ed on his investment in Swimply, a fast-growing peer-to-peer pool-sharing marketplace.
“There will be continued investment in the democratization of software development. A growing number of budding software developers who don’t have the deep expertise to build full-stack applications will need development tools.”
Read more from Dave on scenario planning in an economic downturn and the importance of enterprise hygiene when the market turns.
Priti Youssef Choksi
“There will be a greater focus on automation tools to power a lot of the mundane and not-so-mundane tasks that we do like taking meeting notes, scheduling calls, writing emails, etc. As the hybrid workplace evolves, more companies will look to automation tools that support efficiency and effectiveness to help offload employees’ tasks, allowing them to focus on more meaningful work—especially as hiring slows due to the economic downturn and workers have to make do with fewer resources.”
Read more from Priti on getting your company bought (not sold), and her investment in Xembly, an automated chief of staff for knowledge workers.
“2023 will be a great year to start a company, especially companies that can replace legacy solutions, automate key business processes in the areas of finance and supply chain or help companies generate revenue—those mission-critical needs don’t slow during an economic downturn. Plus, it’s easier for customers to allocate budget towards those needs when faced with budget cuts.”
“Problem-solution oriented brands will continue to grow through a recession. Whether it is self-care or personal finance, if you have a problem, you will search for an answer and try out a solution. Customer willingness to pay during a recession is something that I predict won’t be impacted if you truly can deliver on your brand promise and solve that problem at hand.”
Read more from Sonya on her tips for women in private equity, and recent partnership with Face Reality, an award-winning professional skincare line.
“Consumer investment in the home will persist and even accelerate in 2023. COVID and changing demographics of home ownership have thrust home services and home improvement into the forefront for the consumer, and now with a more difficult real estate environment, consumer investment will stay home. Remodeling, renovation and higher end home services will accelerate despite a more difficult macro environment.”
“Cloud cost management will take off in 2023. Cloud and SaaS costs skyrocketed last year as companies operated in growth-at-all-costs mode. With tougher economic times ahead, startups that help manage these costs will rise to the top.”
“Automation will play one of the largest roles in the customer service landscape in 2023. With rising costs, unpredictable call volumes and labor shortages preventing contact centers from fully staffing, the need for self-serve and human-assisted automation will continue to grow.”
Listen to Scott explain why SaaS product managers should refocus their attention when an economic downturn dries up their sales pipeline.
Scroll down memory lane with us
Celebrate a memorable 2022 by scrolling through our annual Norwest Year in Review.