The dollar value of the bets PSERS has placed in the first decade of the new millennium is up considerably over the 1990s, even though it hasn’t purchased a share in a venture fund since 2008.
So far, performance is mixed. The same number of these new funds from the past decade have positive IRRs as negative ones, according to a peHUB analysis of the most recent PSERS portfolio report dated March 2011. And it isn’t just a recent fund vs. mature fund split. Four funds with 2005 or more recent vintages have positive IRRs. Six have negative ones.
PSERS’ $47 billion portfolio is a sprawling affair. The private markets slice of it, which includes venture capital, private equity and private debt, makes up 21.5% of holdings, according to a September financial statement posted on the organization’s Web site. The venture capital piece is just 1.8% compared with the 15.8% of assets in private equity.
The system appears to favor a low risk approach to venture. Seven of the 20 funds it has joined since 2000 appear to focus on later stage investments and nine have a balanced approach. Only two are dedicated to early stage and two target the secondary market.
In total, capital commitments since the turn of the millennium come to $1.56 billion, the analysis of the March report shows. This is a substantial increase from $575 million in the 1990s. The years 2006 to 2008 saw a significant share of the investing – $760 million – earmarked for nine funds.
In the following slideshow, we list PSERS’ 10 most recent venture funds chronologically with their IRRs and capital commitments. It is not a portfolio you would see just anywhere.