Entrepreneurs sense power shift back to VCs in annual First Round Capital survey

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First Round Capital just published its second-ever State of Startups report, and it’s chock full of interesting sentiments from a survey of more than 700 founders — some of whom have ties to the early-stage venture firm and some who operate outside it.

Taken altogether, it suggests that founders remain highly optimistic about their chances of success, but they also sense that some of their leverage has slipped away when it comes to dealing with investors and raising subsequent rounds of follow-on funding.

Here’s a link to the complete survey.

Among what we think are its most interesting findings:

  • Nearly one in five(!) founders think their company will eventually be worth a billion dollars or more.
  • First Round asked founders to write in the name of the one company they’d want to acquire their startup. Out of 150 companies named, Alphabet rose to the top as the most sought-after acquirer.
  • For the second year running, founders pointed to investors as having negotiating power, with two-thirds (67 percent) of all respondents saying investors will hold more sway. Last year, 54 percent of respondents felt similarly.
  • Men and women disagree about why there are so few women and ethnic minorities in tech. Men are more likely to blame the pipeline into tech; women emphasized unconscious bias and a lack of role models.
  • Founders lurve them some Elon Musk. Asked which founder they most admire, Musk was mentioned 23 percent of the time, followed by Jeff Bezos (10 percent), Mark Zuckerberg (6 percent), and Steve Jobs (5 percent).

Also interesting to us: founders’ plans, or lack of them, to go public. While 23 percent told First Round that they expected it would take another three to five years to go public, a stunning 31 percent said they didn’t intend to IPO, suggesting (we guess?) that they expect to be acquired.