Explaining carried interest

The Equity Kicker

Carried interest’ is the name given to the profit share schemes that investors in venture capital funds, typically called ‘LPs’, use to incentivise the partners at at the funds in which they invest.

Sloppy Reporting from The New York Times on Carried Interest Debate

Seeing Both Sides

I read the article in The New York Times on the carried interest debate and was shocked to see my name and a reference to me that read: " As the Senate Democrats sent signs that they were open to a tax increase, investors and their lobbyists mobilized quickly, warning that the proposal could stifle investments that create jobs. In fact, the trip had nothing to do with carried interest taxes and there were only three or four VCs as part of the business delegation from PBLN.

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The Economics of VCs Recycling Management Fees

Feld Thoughts

The post specifically discussed three items: Management Fees, Recycling, and Carried Interest. Plus, as a bonus, you get $56m of carry (vs. 50m of carry in the case where you don’t recycle proceeds.).

The Rise & Fall of Great Venture Firms [Part 1] ? AGILEVC

Agile VC

I’ll save these for a follow-up post because I think there are some interesting take aways and also some firms that have found hacks to either propel success or avoid pitfalls. Interesting to note that at least some of the enduring firms started as one-man bands (e.g.

Why I Don’t Celebrate Income Inequality

Both Sides of the Table

VCs also get capital gains tax rates on “carried interest,” which is what irritates the masses. Carried interest is the upside that VCs get after returning the money they raised – it is the VC “profit” if you will. Of course “carried interest” tax breaks are more at risk than founder tax breaks. What drives economic inequality in the US?

How do venture capital firms make money by investing in startups?


In exchange for investing capital to help the company grow, the fund receives an ownership interest in the company. Because in the early days a company will not be worth very much, the fund’s ownership interest will be worth exactly what it paid. In many, if not most, cases, this management fee can significantly exceed the “earned” amount from the “carried interest”).

Where Does VC Money Actually Come From? [Flowchart]

View from Seed

This typically has a dual purpose: generate a return on the company’s cash while also gaining insight into new startups and technologies that may be of strategic interest to the corporation. This post was originally published on the personal blog of NextView founding partner Lee Hower.

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Group Finance Director


In this role you will work closely with the senior management and executive board, supporting in the businesses planning and strategy.

Why Investor Titles are Important

This is going to be BIG.

Partners, in my mind, should have carried interest (upside) in the fund and be able to lead deals and take board seats.

What’s the Difference? Venture Capitalist vs. Angel Investor

The Startup Magazine

An article in Forbes explains that a venture capital firm makes its money through management fees (a percentage of the amount of capital that they have under management) and carried interest (a percentage of the profits of the business).

Why Average VC Returns Don’t Really Matter

Agile VC

FoFs have a range of strategies of course, but broadly speaking LPs that invest in FoFs pay them a management fee and carried interest (on top of the fee & carry of underlying VC funds they invest in) for access, diversification, active management or a combination of all three. fund or marginally profitable fund doesn’t generate any carry for the GPs that are investing it.

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Where Do Venture Capital Dollars Actually Come From? This Visual Explains

Agile VC

This typically has a dual purpose: generate a return on the company’s cash while also gaining insight into new startups and technologies that may be of strategic interest to the corporation.

What is a Venture Partner?


Managing Partner/General Partner (I have seen some with Managing Directors too like an investment bank): top dogs that run the shop and own most of the carried interest. These roles typically do not have any carried interest. It carries cache. And it often carries carried interest too (though a lower share). One of my students just asked me what a “Venture Partner” is in the context of a venture capital firm.

Am I just a greedy VC?

VC Adventure

My partner Jason has an impassioned post up about the carried interest debate currently taking place in Congress. I point this out not to get into a political debate about the benefits of taxes, the proper level of tax or even the correct taxing system but to be clear that my views on carried interest are not part of some larger agenda around reforming the tax system or eliminating it all together.

There seems to be a lack of long-term investment in startups. Why is the 3-5 year exit strategy more desirable than a 10-20+ year timeframe?


If an early stage fund therefore targets, say, a 20% annualized gross return (to compensate for the risk and for the GP’s carried interest), that means every individual company in the portfolio needs to be at least theoretically able to return that entire amount for the whole portfolio. If the VC fund took the typical 20% interest, that sets the IPO value of the company around $160 billion, or roughly eight times the value at which Google went public.

Joining The B Team

VC Adventure

More recently I’ve become very interested in the B Corp movement. For a long time I’ve been fascinated by the intersection between entrepreneurship and social change.

How VCs Make Money….Hopefully


Now, there are interesting ways for the GP to fulfill its portion of a capital call using “fee waiver”, but I am not going to address that here. Fourth, GP1 is entitled to a carried interest in fund profits. Therefore, the returns from the sale/IPO of the fund’s portfolio companies must clear capital commitments before GP1 gets any carried interest. I thought it would be useful to demystify how VCs make money. Here is a short explanation.

Battery Ventures Announces New $750 Million Fund

VC Cafe

The New York Times says the new fund is a signal that Silicon Valley is being revived, but according to the Wall Street Journal , it was lower fees and carry that facilitated securing the capital: It helped that Battery proactively offered some investor-friendly terms. The firm lowered its carried interest fee–the fee that it takes on profits made in the fund–to 20% from 25% previously, though the fee would rise to 30% after the fund returns three times its capital, said Mr. Crotty.

10 Ways close the Coronavirus budget gap in New York

This is going to be BIG.

4) We need to push the Federal Government to close the carried-interest tax loophole —but we should do it in such a way where the localities where it gets collected get a share of the income from it. Closing the carried interest tax loophole is something Trump said he was going to do when he campaigned. 1) Legalize all the vices.

Top 29 Startup Posts May 2010


He’d wasted a year of his life and had a pile of stock options that weren’t very interesting. He started targeting the ad by location and interest, and the number of potential people he was reaching began decreasing on screen (Facebook tells you dynamically). He shares a lot of interesting info about his strategy, and it's about as diametrically opposite to my strategy as you can get.

What Makes an Entrepreneur? Cojones (7/11)

Both Sides of the Table

I didn’t negotiate hard on carried interest. This is part of my series on what makes an entrepreneur successful. I originally posted it on VentureHacks , one of my favorite websites for entrepreneurs.

Barney Frank says: Don't Mess with VCs or Angels

Seeing Both Sides

On Financial Reform, Barney Frank was very direct when I pressed him on the myriad restrictions that are being discussed in the Senate bill around angel investing and the discussions about taxing carried interest. Here's what he said: "We will exempt venture capital from the carried interest tax.". "We

5 Signs You Need to Create Your Startup Sponsorship Program

Women Entrepreneurs Can

VCs tend to gain most of their returns through carried interest- a percentage received as compensation from the profits of a hedge fund or private equity. Early on in any startup is more often than not filled with the unknown. How can you market on a shoestring budget?

How to Negotiate a Partner Role at a Venture Capital or Private Equity Firm

David Teten

Compensation : base salary, share of profits of management company, carry. In theory, carry correlates with decision-making power. Will your vote carry more weight than your new partners or will two out of three votes get a deal done?” As a negotiating point, you’re probably going to want to highlight that numerous top-tier VCs have equal carry in funds, although often unequal ownership at the management company level. – Share and vesting of Carry.

The VC Shakeout: Are We There Yet?

Agile VC

But it is also typically in the interests of those same stakeholders for the VC firm’s challenges not to be broadcast widely. a VC fund’s entire portfolio in aggregate, net of management fees and carried interest) a good return from an LP’s perspective would be 2.5-3.0x [ This also appears as a guest post at PandoDaily ]. Over the weekend, I read Sarah Lacy’s PandoDaily article that the VC shakeout is taking too long.

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11 Things I've learned from running a micro VC in the last year


There have been several cases over the course of the last year, where either Eric or myself have had to loan Hustle Fund money interest-free to do a deal that needed to be done now (before we had the fund fully together).

11 Things I've learned from running a micro VC in the last year


There have been several cases over the course of the last year, where either Eric or myself have had to loan Hustle Fund money interest-free to do a deal that needed to be done now (before we had the fund fully together).

Pari Passu or F.U.little guy

Professor VC

It''s also interesting how a lot of this resembles toddler behavior on the playground from "show me a little more love" to "mine mine mine" and of course, the classic playground bully.

High Returns On A Small Fund Challenge Low Returns On A Big Fund

David Teten

An article on the New Enterprise Associates blog by Partner Tom Grossi , however, makes an interesting point: most of the megafunds were raised since 1999, a period in which the entire industry did poorly. We thought that you’d be interested in our conversation. A cynical observer might argue this is why some firms raise many concurrent small funds… then they have both large management fee streams and high volatility on each given carried interest pool.

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A Call to Arms on the IPO Malaise and Inaction

Seeing Both Sides

It is just stunning to me how little interest there seems to be on the part of a supposedly pro-business Congress and (more recently) Executive Branch on this one simple thing that would unleash innovation and jobs - watering down Sarbanes Oxley. But recent conversations that I have had with bankers has carried a different, even more depressing message. I almost never agree with a single thing written on the Wall Street Journal editorial pages.

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Obama proposes no capital gains tax on qualified small business stock

Startup Company Lawyer

The budget proposal is wide ranging, and includes, for example, proposed changes with respect to the taxation of “carried interests&# in partnerships, as well as sweeping reform of the international tax area. This week, the Obama Administration released the first comprehensive summary of its budget proposal.

The Venture Spiral

K9 Ventures

I would welcome a discussion on this topic and invite any interested folks to either leave their comments below or email me directly if they prefer. In addition, there is a performance incentive — the Carried Interest or Carry. The carry is typically around 20% of any gains on the fund. So the carry for the GPs would be (20% of $23.3M) $4.66M and the balance would be the return to the GPs ($10M + $18.64M).

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ProfessorVC: How much is enough?

Professor VC

While my ownership stake in the company has been diluted through these financings (and the merger with uControl), my carried interest (paper value of my equity) has been going up with each increase in valuation. ProfessorVC. The last blogger in Silicon Valley. Monday, June 20, 2011.

The Secret History of Silicon Valley 12: The Rise of “Risk Capital.

Steve Blank

Interestingly enough, Fred Terman, Dean of Stanford Engineering was tied to all three companies. Many investors weren’t interested in working for a large company for a salary and bonus, and most hated the paperwork and salary limitations that the SBIC imposed.

LP Conference


Every year the Dow Jones Private Equity Analyst puts together a show where fund managers can listen to what the LP community is interested in and where they plan on allocating their dollars. Anyway, as I had time to think about it, it might be helpful for entrepreneurs to understand how VC funds operate to better understand our motivations and to better align interests.

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