Best and worst venture funds of the past decade

The results are in. And the winners are a veritable cornucopia of venture’s top names: Union Square Ventures, Spark Capital, Emergence Capital, Foundry Group, BlueRun Ventures.

The losers include some big name funds, too.

All are among 300 venture funds from the past decade that VCJ gathered from public pension and other LP portfolios. They comprise a fairly comprehensive look at venture returns from 2001 to 2010, and they make up some of the best and worst funds from the period.

At the top of the list is a pair of Union Square funds, one from 2004, the other the firm’s opportunity fund from 2010. Union Square Ventures Opportunity Fund claims the honor of the list’s top IRR at 72.1 percent.

Union Square’s 2010-vintage $135 million opportunity fund invested in Lending Club, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The firm’s 2004 early stage fund, a $125 million, vehcile, backed such companies as Twitter, Zynga, Etsy, which all went public. In addition, Thomson Reuters reports that the portfolio included Feedburner, which Google acquired, and Indeed, which Tokyo-based HR services company Recruit Co Ltdpurchased for a reported $1 billion.

Spark Capital II, which also backed Twitter and was an investor in AdMeld, which Google acquired for $400 million, made third place with a still impressive IRR of 53.5 percent, and OrbiMed Advisors claimed the next spot with its fourth fund.

Emergence Capital Partners II, a $200 million fund from 2007, is a standout with an IRR of 51.1 percent. The San Mateo, Calif.-based firm was the sole investor in Veeva Systems, a provider of cloud-based software solutions for the life sciences industry. Emergence made a $4 million investment in 2008 in the company, which launched a $300 million offering in October 2013, Emergence held a 31.2 percent, stake, according to Thomson Reuters, and the company currently boasts a market cap of more than $3 billion near, based on public data.

ARCH Venture Partners, Foundry, Morgenthaler Ventures (now known asCanvas Venture Fund), FirstMark Capital and True Ventures round out the top 10.

By in large, the decade was prosperous. Almost three quarters of the funds have positive IRRs, and 14 percent can boast of IRRs above 20 percent.

But not all was rosy. Eighty of the funds still are underwater with negative IRRs, including ones from VantagePoint Capital Partners, Quaker BioVentures andTallwood Venture Capital.

The accompanying table lists the 300 funds with their IRRs.