Why do top decile VC funds have any LP’s at all?
You still want leverage.
Yes, once a VC has made enough money, they can easily cover the entire GP commit. Especially, if you keep the fund size pretty small.
But they often they want to then raise much larger funds. E.g., even $1b+, or more. And add opportunity funds, SPVs, India funds, Antarctica funds, whatever.
Not everyone wants to put $1b of their own money into a fund or group of funds.
But … put 5% of that in … $20m … and get leverage on the other $980m. Now you have something.
Take a very sucessful $1b fund with say 25% carry on that = $245m in “leverage” (25% x $980m ($1b – $20m GP commit)).
That’s 12x leverage on your money.
And with no real financial downside to that leverage. If the fund doesn’t return any carry, you are only out part of that $20m you put in yourself.
That’s appealing even to centimillionaires and single digit billionaires.
Any GP that has made some money as a founder, or as a VC before that, ultimately is really looking for leverage.
And it also turns out, this creates disalignment in some cases where you have GPs that just want leverage … and GPs that mainly want fees.