Fund performance: Shifting fortunes in the early life of UTIMCO portfolio

Rarely do you see a venture portfolio perform as well as the one made up of 2011 to 2013 funds at University of Texas Investment Management Co.

The money manager backed a group of emerging funds and has been rewarded well for its efforts. Well, at least so far. All but one of the funds are in positive territory and all but three have IRRs above 20 percent, according to a VCJ analysis of a recent performance report.

It is a positive start for a collection of smaller funds favoring early-stage and seed-stage investing. Only four of the funds are above $200 million in size, and six of the 11 do early and seed deals.

The second half of 2015 treated the portfolio badly. The performances of more than half the funds deteriorated, particularly so at one Foundry Group fund. Despite the headwinds, three other funds improved handily, including a fund of funds from Cendana Capital and funds from Pinto Technology Ventures and Sante Ventures.

All said, the numbers look good. Foundry Group Select Fund from 2013 still leads the portfolio: The fund’s IRR as of February was 70.91 percent, though that was down from 116.07 percent six months earlier, the report shows.

IA Ventures Strategies Fund II also retreated but still boasted an IRR of 61.48 percent as of February. Other winners are Sofinnova Venture Partners VIII and Union Square Ventures 2012 Fund, two 2011 investment pools.

The biggest improvers include Cendana Co-Investment Fund, which saw its IRR climb to 26.67 percent from 19.39 percent, the report shows. Other big gainers are PTV Special Opportunities I (with an IRR of 29.19 percent) and Sante Health Ventures II (with an IRR of 27.34 percent), both of which broke out of the red.

All 11 funds are included in the accompanying table with commitments, distributions and IRRs.