Fund performance: Union Square Ventures fund sees sharp decline in WSIB portfolio

Union Square Ventures’ 2008 fund has seen an uncharacteristically sharp decline in a Washington State Investment Board venture portfolio.

WSIB’s late-decade portfolio, composed largely of a mix of big multi-stage funds with vintages ranging from 2006 to 2011, has generally delivered solid results. Nearly two-thirds of the 19 holdings follow a multi-stage or later-stage approach to putting money to work, and about three-quarters have committed capital of $500 million to more than $2.4 billion.

So far, the strategy, which favors big-name firms, appears largely to have worked. More than two-thirds of the funds had double-digit IRRs as of December, according to a recent performance report. The funds are part of WISB’s Pathway and Invesco holdings.

But several funds showed pullbacks, according to the performance report, including the USV fund and funds from Canaan Partners and Vivo Capital.

The portfolio is led by Spark Capital II, which as of December had an IRR of 52.72 percent, the report shows.

Spark Capital raised the $362.6 million fund in 2007. It invested in Twitter, which went public, as well as AdMeld (acquired by Google for $400 million), (bought by AOL for $405 million) and Boxee (purchased by Samsung for $30 million), according to Thomson Reuters.

Battery Ventures VIII Side Fund from 2008 maintained its solid performance, with an IRR of 31.34 percent, as of December.

In third place, the Union Square Ventures’ fund pulled back to a 23.45 percent IRR as of December, compared with a 34.69 percent IRR from 15 months earlier, the report shows. Distributions from the fund are small.

The USV fund had invested a small amount in the now-defunct contacts-management site Hashable, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The same USV fund performed slightly better in a separate University of Texas Investment Management Co portfolio. UTIMCO had the fund’s IRR at 25.9 percent as of February 2016, reflecting a much smaller decline.

The WISB portfolio also recorded significant pullbacks for Canaan VIII, vintage 2008, and Vivo Ventures VI from 2007.

On the other hand, Menlo Ventures X showed a nice gain, with an IRR of 10.9 percent as of December, the report shows.

A complete list of the funds can be found in the accompanying table with IRRs, distributions and commitments.