Earlier this year, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation issued a blistering report which said, among other things, that the majority of venture funds it had invested in over the years had failed to exceed returns available from the public markets. The report rattled the opaque VC industry, if for nothing more than its bluntness.
Now, here comes a separate report from the National Venture Capital Association that doesn’t paint as ugly of a picture.
The report, compiled by Cambridge Associates, showed double-digit performance for venture capital funds during the one, three, 15 and 20-year time horizons. Meanwhile, the 10-year return hit its highest mark of 4.4 percent since the third quarter of 2009. It was still below the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq for that period, but the improvements during that period, as well as other time frames, is sparking some cautious optimism.
“Venture capital returns continue to head in the right direction and we are encouraged by the stability of the gradual climb over the last year,” said Mark Heesen, president of NVCA. “The passage of the JOBS Act in April has resulted in many more companies registering confidentially for an IPO, building a stronger pipeline that could have a very positive impact once those offerings come to market. This potential, coupled with a healthier acquisitions market, could point to better returns over the next several quarters even in the face of significant headwinds in many of the nations’ economies, as well as current political instability in some regions of the world.”
The report comes as a number of Pacific Northwest funds have either raised new money or are in the process of doing so. Just last week, Canadian angel investor Boris Wertz launched a $15 million venture fund with plans to invest from Portland to Seattle to Vancouver, B.C.
Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group raised the largest fund in its history at $300 million in June, and other firms such as Voyager Capital, Frazier Healthcare Ventures and Divergent Ventures continue to raise cash.