Earlier this week, I shared a story about a venture capital fund having LPs renege on their capital commitments after signing paperwork. That was the first time I’d heard this from a VC fund manager I know personally. I assumed it was an exception rather than the norm but decided to do some digging.
Yesterday, Forbes published an article about this exact topic and why it’s happening. You can read it here. The article alludes to more established and larger venture capital funds being safer bets for institutional LPs than emerging funds are. I don’t agree with the connection this article makes that institutional LPs are investing now in established funds instead of in emerging funds. Institutional LPs don’t usually invest directly in emerging funds. Rather, emerging funds’ investors are usually family offices, high-net-worth individuals, funds of funds, and maybe some endowments (depending on their size).
I suspect that the LPs that emerging mangers target are being affected by the macro environment more than established funds are. And I suspect they’re trying to avoid selling assets at depressed prices to meet their commitments to emerging funds, or venture capital now represents too big a share of their overall portfolio (given that other asset types are more depressed than venture), or they’re gun-shy because of a looming recession and want to conserve cash.
LPs reneging might not be the norm in venture capital, but it’s happening more than I realized and likely disproportionately affecting emerging managers. Emerging managers play an important role in getting capital to founders outside the traditional venture capital network and providing alpha to their investors. I suspect the savvy LPs will take advantage of this period and back high-potential emerging managers who will back non-consensus founders who generate outsize returns.