Seven to Ten Years
I have worked in three venture capital firms over the last thirty-three years and am intimately familiar with the performance of the fifteen (ish) venture funds raised and invested by these three firms. Much of what I have written about fund management and investment performance here at AVC over the last sixteen years comes from my observations of these funds and firms.
Starting in the mid-00s, The Gotham Gal and I started investing in other venture capital funds, always limiting these investments to firms where we knew the partners well and had sat on boards with them.
And The Gotham Gal started angel investing around the same time, often writing the first check into startups. She has made something like 140 angel investments over the last dozen years, mostly into companies founded by women.
We keep good records on these personal investments and I now have another data set to observe.
Across these three sources of data (my firms, other firms, angel investments), there are well over 1000 individual angel, seed, and early stage venture capital investments over four decades.
I have no plans to publish this data. It is not in a single database and there is a ton of confidential information in it.
But I can observe things about this data and have been doing so and will continue to do so.
One of the great truths about early stage investments is that you have to be patient with them. The losses come early and the winners take longer to realize.
It takes seven to ten years to get to real liquidity in a portfolio of early stage venture investments. You can’t short cut it. It just takes time. But come years seven, eight, nine, and ten the returns will start coming in.
I am not sure why seven to ten years and not five to seven or not ten to fifteen. It’s seven to ten. That’s how it has always been and seemingly always will be.