Fund Performance: Mass PRIM Sticks With What’s Familiar

New England is sometimes called the land of steady habits. The phrase might apply to Mass PRIM’s venture investment strategy.

The Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board is an active venture investor and one that often sticks with established partnerships, including a number from its home state.

The money manager ramped up its venture investments over the past three years and has continued to make substantial commitments this year. Many of its long-standing relationships are the beneficiaries, including Battery Ventures, Spark Capital and Technology Crossover Ventures.

So far this year, commitments were extended to the $650 million Battery Ventures X and to the Battery Ventures X Side Fund, the fourth and fifth Battery funds the organization has bought into since 2007, according to news reports and a list of fund purchases Mass PRIM supplied to VCJ. The organization said it would put up to $30 million in each, according to the news reports.

The money manager also added Spark Capital IV to its portfolio, its third Spark fund over the same period, and agreed to invest $100 million in Technology Crossover Ventures VIII, its second investment in a Technology Crossover Ventures fund.

Other firms with repeat investments from the pension fund are Insight Venture Partners, Index Ventures, Union Square Ventures, Flagship Ventures, Rembrandt Venture Partners and Institutional Venture Partners.

In total, Mass PRIM invested $651 million in venture funds from 2007 to 2012, stepping up its commitments in 2010, 2011 and 2012, according to the list of fund purchases. Commitments reached $107.5 million last year, sinking slightly from $115.5 million in 2011 and $135 million in 2010.

The largest commitment made in the six-year period was $75 million and it went to Technology Crossover Ventures VII. The second largest went to Insight Venture Partners Co-Investment III, which received $50 million. Institutional Venture Partners XIV received $40 million.

Over the six-year period, three Battery funds received $63.5 million and three Union Square Ventures funds received $40 million. Commitments to three funds of Index Ventures—Index Ventures VI, Index Ventures Life VI and Index Ventures Growth II—fell slightly from the commitments listed in an earlier portfolio report updated through September.

A great many of Mass PRIM’s relationships are with Massachusetts firms, including Battery, Flagship, Spark, Highland Capital Partners, Ascent Venture Partners, Kepha Partners and Polaris Partners.

In the accompany chart, please find Mass PRIM’s venture commitments from 2007 to 2012 arranged by size.