Fund performance: San Francisco stresses diversity and reaps the reward

Diversity is the watchword for the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System’s mid-decade venture portfolio.

The money manager owns a pretty even mix of early-stage, late-stage, balanced, secondary and funds of funds investments for the vintage years 2004 to 2008.

Its holdings are evenly divided among large pools of capital with $1 billion or more in commitments, medium sized funds and smaller ones. And of the 19 funds in the portfolio, only two come from the same GP. (The matching pair are funds of funds from Knightsbridge Advisors.)

So how has the strategy worked out? Not badly. The vast majority of the funds have IRRs that are in positive territory, including seven of them with IRRs above 15 percent, according to a recent SFERS portfolio report updating the portfolio to December 2013.

What’s interesting is progress at the same time is uneven. Nearly as many funds gained ground as lost it during the final six months of last year.

The big winners in the portfolio include Institutional Venture Partners XII from 2007, which saw its IRR rise to 34.7 percent in December from 25.74 percent in June, according to the report. The fund tops the portfolio.

Clarus Lifesciences II also advanced smartly. Its IRR at the end of the period was 16.2 percent, up from 6.6 percent. The fund is vintage 2008.

The portfolio’s second best performer, the 2004 vintage secondary fund Landmark Equity Partners XII saw its IRR remain largely unchanged in the final six months of the year at 24.1 percent.

Technology Crossover Ventures VII, Canaan VIII, Weathergage Venture Capital and Knightsbridge Venture Capital VII-A all saw performance improve.

The accompanying table lists the 19 funds with their IRRs, distributions and capital commitments.