Venture capital returns have yet to feel the full impact of the capital markets crisis. Payoffs, as measured by the private equity performance index (PEPI), dipped over the first two fiscal quarters, but were still higher than those out of the NASDAQ and S&P 500, according to a new report released by the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters.
Second quarter saw an 8.2-point decrease in one-year returns, which fell from 13.3 percent to 5.1 percent on the PEPI, and a 1-point drop in three-year returns. But this still leaves VCs in the black as the markets plunge even lower. After first quarter, PEPI posted a 5.5 percent one-year loss for the NASDAQ, which sunk to an 11.1 percent loss over Q2. The S&P 500 fell 7.4 points to reach a miserable 13.8 percent loss in the same period. PEPI (which monitors the cash flow for more than 1,941 VC and private equity firms, amounting to $828 billion in capitalization), showed that venture capital retains this edge over 10 and 20-year periods. For the latter, the report shows a 16.9 percent return for VCs, compared to NASDAQ’s 9.2 percent and the S&P’s 8 percent returns.
When PEPI reported its Q1 numbers in July, VCs appeared resilient as the economy began to decline. Of course, the worst was yet to come, and these new figures — while still promising — suggest that firms may not be as teflon as previously thought. The report attributes the second quarter drop to the closed IPO window, which forced VCs to pump more money into later-stage companies left to tread water until it reopens. The situation hasn’t improved since, and NVCA president Mark Heesen predicts that PEPI data will dive even further in future quarters.