VC Funds: First-Time Funds take a Median of 12+ Months to Raise.

I got a few questions on last week’s post about the number of months VC funds are in the market before a close.

Raising VC Funds in the US vs. Rest of World

I was asked to look at different geographies:

2019-03-21_4.39.03 PM_SNAG-0002 Months in Market to Final Close for each Year of Vintage broken down by First-Time Fund. Size shows Final Close Size (mn USD) (Source: Preqin)

That was not particularly helpful.

First-Time Funds vs. Established Firms

I got another set of questions about first-time funds compared to established firms. First, I tried to do some pattern recognition on closing timing, comparing First-Time Funds to funds from firms that already had a fund in the market:

2019-03-21_4.25.11 PM_SNAG-0000 Months in Market to Final Close for each Year of Vintage broken down by First-Time Fund. Size shows Final Close Size (mn USD) (Source: Preqin)

That wasn’t too helpful: we know that first-time funds are usually smaller. And that larger funds from established platforms are raised relatively faster because the cadence and calendar for large funds is well communicated and planned together with the LPs.

It is intuitive that first-time funds would be generally smaller:

2019-03-21_4.44.10 PM_SNAG-0003 Final Close Size (mn USD) for each First-Time Fund broken down by Year of Vintage. Color shows details about First-Time Fund. The data is filtered on Final Close Size (mn USD), which keeps non-Null values only. (Source: Preqin)

So let’s compare apples to apples: How much longer — or shorter! — do first-time funds take with comparable fund sizes of established firms?


2019-03-21_4.47.26 PM_SNAG-0004 Months in Market to Final Close for First-Time Funds with a final closing amount of $60m or less: Median, 1st quartile, and 3rd quartile thresholds in months. Difference in months to established firms. (Source: Preqin)

This one is more interesting: A fund with vintage 2011 that has been 20 months in the market (the median for first-time funds) started fund-raising around 2009, after the financial crisis. I could imagine how LPs were scared, going more to established platforms than trying out emerging or new fund managers.

I am a bit puzzled that in other years first-time funds were raising faster than established firms. Were there many firms that raised their next $40-60m fund after the first one was not particularly successful? Were successful firms that previously had a $40-60m fund now raising larger funds so they don’t show up in this table anymore? Was there a new class of new fund managers that instilled more confidence in LPs than established firms? I can’t quite figure it out….

Keep in mind that the n is not very large: Twenty to thirty funds is hardly statistically relevant.



Thoughts? Opinions? Comments? Corrections?