Fund performance: Canaan handily leads early-decade venture portfolio

A 2012 Canaan Partners fund is firmly in front of a generally well-performing early-decade venture portfolio at Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System.

The portfolio of vintage 2011 to 2015 funds includes several of the best performing fund years of the past decade-and-a-half. And it reflects these better times.

All but two of the still young funds have IRRs in the teens or better, a recent performance report shows. One of the two that doesn’t is still in a formative stage at less than two years old.

The portfolio favors midsized funds, except for two multibillion-dollar funds from New Enterprise Associates. Most of the funds bring a stage-agnostic approach to investing.

The portfolio is led by Canaan IX, which as of March had an IRR of 36.71 percent, the report shows. The 2012 fund has already returned more than half of contributed capital.

The $600 million fund from 2012 invested in Skybox, which Google acquired in 2014 for $500 million, according to Thomson Reuters. The fund also backed CytomX Therapeutics Inc, which went public, and Metacloud, which Cisco bought for an undisclosed price.

Battery Ventures X Side Fund from 2013 follows with an IRR of 18.56 percent, as of March. New Enterprise Associates 14 from 2012 is close behind at 17.91 percent, the report shows.

Two funds making big gains in performance are Polaris Partners VII and LLR Equity Partners IV.

The most recent addition to the portfolio is NEA 15 from 2015.

Performance data for the entire portfolio is available in the attached spreadsheet, with commitments, distributions and IRRs.