So a VC is investing in you — nice information. But you then see a string of names and numbers of their funding autos and also you marvel, what is absolutely happening. This submit clarifies 5 main ways in which a fund is likely to be investing in you.

Quick recap that LP = Limited Partner i.e., the buyers in a VC fund. These are sometimes people, household places of work, fund of funds, corporates, pension funds, endowments; in smaller fund the primary two are dominant, in bigger funds it’s the latter 4 usually collectively referred to as “institutionals.”

1) Opportunity Fund — What occurs if new LPs wish to put money into a VC fund that’s already closed? Sometimes the VC will return to their current LPs and ask for an exception to reopen the fund. Other occasions they may speed up beginning their subsequent fund. The norm within the US is that fifty% of the primary fund be dedicated for brand spanking new alternatives — the considering is do some good offers first as a substitute of elevating on prime of a increase. A third approach is to create a chance fund, which frequently has the mandate to put money into a barely completely different method than the primary fund to attenuate potential battle of curiosity. A widespread arrange is the chance fund provides extra dry energy to current investments, say the primary fund does the prorata and something further goes to the chance fund. Another widespread arrange is the chance fund will do investments in numerous phases (say late vs early), geographies (say outdoors US), verticals (say in automobiles when the primary fund is concentrated on robotics) and/or constructions (crypto, secondary, public market and many others). For an entrepreneur getting an funding partially from the primary fund versus the chance fund is extra a matter of book-keeping, the most important influence is absolutely how the VC is giving returns to its personal LPs.

2) Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) — A SPV is a car created particularly to make the funding. VCs will usually do a SPV if they’re aggregating capital outdoors the primary fund to extend their possession into an organization. The VC will even usually cost a administration price and keep it up the SPV, often a bit larger than these of the primary fund. In the US the present norms for fundamental funds are

  • administration price of 1.5 – 2.5%, with a median of two%
  • carry of 20%, though some bigger funds have been recognized to do 30% and a minority do deal by deal carry (ie completely different percentages on every funding moderately than a single quantity for the entire fund)

Once once more, what the SPV actually impacts is the VC’s personal returns. Typically your entire SPV will get the rights, say for instance prorata, so an entrepreneur who desires one thing else ought to make clear it with the VC main the SPV.

3) Cross-Fund — Cross-fund is the follow of investing via a number of fundamental funds. In the US most VC funds are for 10 years, with a brand new fund getting raised each 2-4 years, which implies that at any given second a fund may need capital for brand spanking new investments via 2-3 autos. Cross-fund investments are much less widespread within the business as a result of they sometimes have completely different LPs. That mentioned VCs could have set it up legally and/or earned sufficient belief with their LPs to have the ability to stability competing pursuits from their LPs to be in the very best offers. And in such instances they will additionally divide the funding to clean out the returns amongst completely different funds, for example to point out larger efficiency in a selected classic.

4) Evergreen Fund — Evergreen refers back to the capability to attract capital indefinitely. Some giant corporates or banks with VC arms may be regarded upon as evergreen. Similar case for a handful of VCs which have maintained the identical set of LPs throughout numerous vintages, for example having the identical college endowments as LPs again and again. Cross-investing is clearly a a lot simpler proposition for evergreen funds for the reason that returns go to the identical LPs. All that mentioned, evergreen funds are uncommon, particularly today, and an entrepreneur may not even bear in mind their VC is such a fund.

5) Scout Fund — Scout funds have emerged actually within the final 10 years, with giant funds eager to have a entrance row seat in early offers however not having the bandwidth to handle, diligence and/or supply them. In Silicon Valley this sometimes means multi-stage funds of $1B+ that give a small checkbook to of us they belief within the ecosystem, oftentimes an entrepreneur they’ve labored with. The scout can write say 10 checks of $100K after a handful of possibly even one assembly in say a seed stage, with the concept once they go for later rounds the primary fund could have first dibs. If you might be an entrepreneur elevating from a scout caveat emptor: you possibly can run into signaling danger if the primary fund doesn’t do a minimum of its prorata within the subsequent spherical. A widespread mitigant is to then have a minimum of two if not a number of scout funds put money into you, which will increase your optionality. As an entrepreneur you also needs to make clear whether or not your tagline is “X Scout” invested or whether or not “X” is an investor — “X” will virtually at all times carry extra Weight

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Originally printed on “Data Driven Investor,” am completely happy to syndicate on different platforms. I’m the Managing Partner and Cofounder of Tau Ventures with 20 years in Silicon Valley throughout corporates, personal startup, and VC funds. These are purposely quick articles targeted on sensible insights (I name it gl;dr — good size; did learn). Many of my writings are at and I’d be stoked in the event that they get folks sufficient in a subject to discover in additional depth. If this text had helpful insights for you remark away and/or give a like on the article and on the Tau Ventures’ LinkedIn web page, with due thanks for supporting our work. All opinions expressed listed here are my very own.