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Fund performance: Mid-decade funds struggle in Tar Heels State portfolio

Before the breakout years at the end of the last decade, venture funds struggled to post attractive returns.

This is still the case with the North Carolina Retirement System’s mid-decade venture portfolio.

The portfolio favors smaller funds from some less well-known managers. Three quarters of them are under $300 million in size and just one has assets of more than $1 billion.

Managers the state pension have backed include Tudor Ventures, Aurora Funds, Pappas Ventures, Burrill & Company and Angeleno Group Investors, firms that frequently lean toward early-stage and balanced approaches to investing. Tudor does later-stage deals.

The 12 funds in the portfolio have vintages of 2003 to 2006.

Leading the portfolio is the largest fund in the bunch, Technology Crossover Ventures’ $1.4 billion later-stage sixth fund from 2006. The fund’s IRR was 14.25 percent as of June 2015, according to a public portfolio report.

Ampersand 2006 also had a double-digital IRR as of June, posting a 13.01 percent number, the report shows. Distributions from both funds have been substantial.

In third place, Novak Biddle Venture Partners V had an IRR of 11.1 percent as of the date. The remainder of the funds in the black had single digit IRRs.

At the bottom of the portfolio were four still under water, including one from Burrill & Company and the Angeleno Group fund.

The 12 funds are included in the accompanying table with commitments, distributions and IRRs.