Venture Finance Bafflegab

Here is a press quote from an associate at a well-known venture firm today:

“The near term forecast is that the window will continue to remain selective.”

The subject is IPO prospects for biotech companies, and this fellow is opining on the outlook. Just for fun, let’s tear the sentence up and see what he is actually saying:

“near-term forecast”: How about, “For now we think …”

“window”: This is one of the most awful cliched metaphors in the financial business. While it might once have been useful to compare the IPO interest of investors to a window opening and closing, the metaphor has become empty.

“selective”: This is stuffy Latinate phrasing for something simple. He is really saying that the IPO market will no longer take just any flakey crap thrown at it by VCs and i-bankers, but it will take some stuff, if it’s decent (i.e., Phase 2/3, big pharma partner, etc.). 

“window will … remain selective”: pathetic fallacy. Windows aren’t selective. People and markets are. 

So, what’s he really saying? How about, “For now we think that biotech IPOs are still a possibility, but investors won’t accept just any old crap.” That works for me.


  1. I like the image of an intelligent window that opens or shuts with each offering.
    Reminds me of the showbiz insider view of TV audiences as The Monster. Shows, like IPOs, are offerings to ‘Feed The Monster’.
    I consider the fallacy as an interesting view into the world of finance mythology.
    Food for thought.