What happens to investments made in a fund when it closes and the VC has to make returns to its LPs?
I answer this question because some information on the internet here will confuse entrepreneurs.
In the “old” days, founders would come under some pressure from VCs as their funds reached Year 10. VCs would be under pressure to liquidate their investments as their fund reached the end of its lifetime. This was a real issue and led to a lot of stories you hear in the old days of “the VCs forced me to sell.”
And in the old days, when IPOs often happened 3-4 years after founding — albeit at much, much lower valuations — it all sort of made sense to wrap a fund up after 10 years.
Today is radically different:
- Funds today often are generally 13 year lifetimes (still 10, but with 3 automatic extensions) and are often extended to 15 years or longer.
- And the secondary market for LP ownership ensures funds can last even longer if there are issues.
- And finally, LPs understand average liquidity horizons are now longer. IPOs take a decade or longer after founding in SaaS in particular. So you have to be patient to get the returns.
Add that in to Year 10 of a Bull Run and the 150+ Unicorns out there, and there’s no pressure to sell anymore from LPs. GPs want to go for it.
Most importantly, just understand as a founder these days, if you raise money from a traditional-style VC, you will be under a lot of pressure to grow, grow, grow. But you probably won’t be under any pressure these days to sell.