Lots of talk of a bubble in VC – so even if this does not disprove that thesis, this one stat (in the chart) is still very interesting. Check it out and you can see the full report below.
U.S. Venture Capital Index And Selected Benchmark Statistics by Cambridge Associates
Description of Performance Measurement Methodology
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Cambridge Associates LLC (CA) has established a database to monitor investments made by venture capital and other alternative asset partnerships. On March 31, 2015, 1,576 U.S. venture capital funds from the years 1981 through 2015 were included in the sample. Users of the analysis may find the following description of the data sources and calculation techniques helpful to their interpretation of information presented in the report:
- Partnership financial statements and narratives are the primary source of information concerning cash flows and ending residual/ net asset values (NAV) for both partnerships and portfolio company investments.
- Recognizing the alternative asset community’s sensitivity to the distribution of information pertaining to individual fund investments, as a matter of policy CA only releases aggregated figures in its benchmark report.
- Vintage year is defined as the legal inception date as noted in a fund’s financial statement. This date can usually be found in the first note to the audited financial statements and is prior to the first close or capital call.
- CA uses both the since inception internal rate of return and the end-to-end or horizon performance calculation in its benchmark reports:
a. The since inception internal rate of return (SI IRR) is a since inception calculation that solves for the discount rate, which makes the net present value of an investment equal to zero. The calculation is based on cash-on-cash returns over equal periods modified for the residual value of the partnership’s equity or portfolio company’s NAV. The residual value attributed to each respective group being measured is incorporated as its ending value. Transactions are accounted for on a quarterly basis, and annualized values are used for reporting purposes. Please note that all transactions are recorded on the 45th day or midpoint of the quarter.
b. Cambridge Associates uses the end –to-end or horizon internal rate of return calculation to calculate the official quarterly, annual, and multi-year index figures. The horizon IRR performance calculation is a money-weighted return similar to the since inception IRR; however, it is measuring performance between two points in time. The calculation incorporates the beginning NAV (if any, treated as an inflow), interim cash flows and the ending NAV (if any, treated as an outflow). All interim cash flows are recorded on the mid-period date of the quarter. In order for a fund to be included in a horizon IRR calculation, the fund must have at least one quarterly contribution, distribution or NAV during the time frame being measured. Similar to the since inception IRR, the horizon IRR is annualized for time frames greater than one year.
- Additional Calculation Definitions:
In order to provide meaningful statistics, Cambridge Associates has applied minimum fund count thresholds for each calculation.. See minimum counts in parenthesis after each calculation.
a. Pooled return aggregates all cash flows and ending NAVs in a sample to calculate a dollar-weighted return.(minimum 3 funds)
b. Arithmetic mean averages the individual fund IRRs included in a vintage year. (minimum 3 funds)
c. Median is the middle fund IRR of the group of individual fund IRRs included in a vintage year. (minimum 5 funds)
d. Equal-weighted pooled return equally weights all cash flows and ending NAVs based on paid in capital to calculate a dollar-weighted return. (minimum 3 funds)
e. Upper/ lower quartile are the thresholds for the upper (top 25%) and lower (bottom 25%) quartiles based on the individual fund IRRs included in a vintage year. Can be used in conjunction with the median to determine quartile placement. (minimum 8 funds)
f. Standard deviation is measure of the dispersion of the individual returns. The calculation employs the standard methodology for calculating a sample mean (not a population mean). (minimum 3 funds)
- Realization ratio exhibits (TVPI, DPI, RVPI): CA has independently calculated the proper realization ratio for each fund in each vintage year. Please note that each fund has been ranked within its respective vintage year by the corresponding realization ratio, as opposed to being ranked by IRR as they are ranked in the since inception IRR exhibit. As a result a fund’s ranking within its vintage year may change. For example, it is possible that a vintage year can have a different median fund when ranked by IRR vs. when ranked by TVPI, DPI or RVPI.
- Cambridge Associates Modified Public Market Equivalent (mPME): The mPME calculation is a private-to-public comparison that seeks to replicate private investment performance under public market conditions. The public index’s shares are purchased and sold according to the private fund cash flow schedule, with distributions calculated in the same proportion as the private fund, and the mPME NAV (the value of the shares held by the public equivalent) is a function of mPME cash flows and public index returns. The mPME attempts to evaluate what return would have been earned had the dollars been deployed in the public markets instead of in private investments while avoiding the “negative NAV” issue inherent in some PME methodologies. “Value-Add” shows (in basis points) the difference between the actual private investment return and the mPME calculated return.
- Exhibits detailing data for portfolio companies are grouped by year of the fund’s initial investment in a company, as opposed to vintage year. Returns are gross returns.
See full PDF below.