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Fund performance: UC sees big mark up in Sequoia holdings

The University of California has seen a big mark up in the value of its Sequoia Capital holdings over the past couple years, as well as a large jump in distributions in the past 12 months or so.

This is according to data the university released to VCJ under a public records act request.

In the past five years, the university’s Sequoia funds have jumped in value about 2.5x to $108 million. During the same five years, they generated more than $108 million in distributions, the data show.

The university has invested in at least 13 Sequoia funds over the past three decades. As of December 2014, six of the funds appear to remain active, including the Sequoia Capital U.S. Growth Fund from 2011 and the Sequoia Capital Global Growth Fund from 2012, according to a recent university portfolio report. Another two of the funds appear to have been active at the start of the five-year period.

See the accompanying table for the list of Sequoia funds.

The firm has a reputation for wringing top-tier returns from blockbuster deals, such as with WhatsApp, which Facebook acquired for about $19 billion last year. It is unclear, based on the Thomson Reuters database, which Sequoia fund or funds backed WhatsApp. Among the other firm’s exits the last two years were the IPOs of Hubspot, MobileIron, Nimble Storage, FireEye Networksand Palo Alto Networks as well as the acquisitions of Trulio, Tumblr and Sourcefire.

The university does not release fund-by-fund data on its Sequoia investments, despite a state law calling for the public release of the information. Instead it relies on aggregate figures from Sequoia, bunching the funds into a single consolidated entity showing drawdowns, distributions and net asset value.

Funds from Sequoia, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Accel Partners are the only ones without fund level information in the quarterly portfolio reports from the university’s regents.

Thomson Reuters, the former publisher of VCJ, went to court in 2012 seeking the fund level data, but was unsuccessful. An appeals court panel said the university was not obligated to obtain information it did not have.

Sequoia declined to comment for this story.

According to the aggregate data, the university saw distributions from Sequoia jump to $63.8 million for the fiscal year ended June 2015. That is up from $10.7 million the year before.

At the same time, capital calls dropped substantially to $8.8 million during the June 2015 ending fiscal year from $29 million the year before. Along with the U.S. and Global Growth funds, the university owns a stake in Sequoia Capital 2010, a combination of three separate funds: a U.S. venture fund, a China venture fund, and a China growth fund.

The university’s previous investment Sequoia Capital X fund dates to 2000.

Net asset value of the holdings jumped to $137.6 million in the fiscal year ended June 2014 from $67.9 million the year before.

Please see the accompanying tables for the complete drawdown, distribution and net asset value data.