Optimizing VC Fund Efficiency with Efficient Forecasting and Planning | by Kailee Costello | Wharton FinTech | Jun, 2023


This text is a collaboration between Wharton FinTech and Tactyc, a platform that permits GPs to assemble and handle enterprise portfolios. The crew at Tactyc share their insights on the very best practices for fund modeling and clarify why sustaining an lively forecast is necessary for responding to market shifts and deal phrases in addition to for optimizing follow-on returns.

Whether or not you might be an rising or established VC fund supervisor, fund modeling and efficiency forecasting is a core workflow. In the course of the fund-raising course of, this is named portfolio building; GPs construct a hypothetical efficiency forecast that summarizes the fund’s technique.

Past the fund-raise, lively fund managers ideally preserve a forward-looking mannequin to trace efficiency and plan future capital deployment. Nonetheless, that is ceaselessly very exhausting to do in spreadsheets given the variety of investments and variables – subsequently, it’s usually solely accomplished at a excessive stage or under no circumstances. This lack of perspective makes data-driven decision-making in quarterly and annual fund evaluations extraordinarily troublesome.

In a world the place data-driven workflows have gotten extra frequent and vital (to optimize returns and display considerate processes to LPs), how can GPs incorporate fund modeling into their ongoing workflow? On this article, we’ll discover finest practices for fund modeling and customary missed alternatives.

All of it begins with building

The cornerstone of a profitable forecasting workflow begins with portfolio building. Many managers view portfolio building as a one-off exercise purely for the fundraising course of. However, portfolio building needs to be the quantitative spine of your fund technique and, if accomplished accurately, be used to information your fund efficiency. The internal workings of portfolio building deserve its personal weblog publish which the crew at Tactyc have coated in previous discussions resembling this report with First Republic Financial institution and this podcast with Samir Kaji of Enterprise Unlocked. Briefly, portfolio building is a single mannequin that summarizes the fund technique.

Widespread “inputs” to this mannequin are:

  • Fund dimension: Capital dedicated to the fund
  • Capital allocation: Portion of capital allotted to Seed investments vs. Sequence A, and many others.
  • Goal possession: Desired possession in every firm at entry and in subsequent follow-on rounds
  • Macro and market information: Anticipated valuations and spherical sizes throughout the funding interval, ideally by sector and/or geography
  • Commencement charges: The probability of an organization shifting to the subsequent funding spherical vs. the probability of failure at every spherical

The standard mannequin “outputs” are:

  • Variety of offers: Complete variety of anticipated offers the fund can do
  • Examine sizes: Common preliminary entry ticket dimension
  • Reserve ratios: Capital earmarked for follow-on investments
  • Efficiency metrics: Often TVPI, MOIC, and IRR for the LP and Carried Curiosity for the GP

One frequent mistake is to set a reserve ratio as an enter. There are a lot of variables that go into potential reserve necessities (resembling: valuations, commencement charges, and goal possession) — all of those components are missed if the reserve ratio is assumed at first as a substitute of being calculated primarily based on these underlying variables.

Additionally it is value noting that portfolio building is helpful not simply because “LPs ask for it”. It’s the “playbook” for the GP and will ideally be grounded with real-world information. In actual fact, as we’ll see shortly — a rock-solid portfolio building plan allows the GP to watch and course-correct their fund efficiency in later years.

Past the Fund-Increase

As soon as a building plan is constructed, funds are raised and capital deployment is underway, it’s simple for a GP to overlook concerning the authentic building mannequin. In actual fact, these fashions seldom see the sunshine of day past the fund-raise. It is a missed alternative.

As soon as the fund has lively investments, it turns into all of the extra necessary that GPs preserve an lively forecast. With precise information layered on prime of the development plan, you’ll be able to reply necessary questions resembling:

  • Precise vs. deliberate: Have been our authentic valuation and test dimension assumptions too rosy? Has the market moved considerably since we launched?
  • Projected returns: By incorporating precise funding information the mannequin can now begin projecting anticipated returns and offer you a line of sight into potential DPI, TVPI, and different return metrics.
  • Course correction: How can the fund “get again on monitor”? Ought to we modify our allocation or test dimension technique going ahead?

The purpose is to keep nimble as a fund. By responding to the newest market shifts and deal phrases, GPs can change their “authentic” assumptions to develop a brand new thesis primarily based on precise information with perception into how these modifications are anticipated to affect efficiency.

How is that this accomplished?

To construct a forecast for an lively fund, GPs have to:

  • Construct deal-level forecasts for particular person investments. This requires delving into every funding, constructing an underwriting case, and setting future reserves and anticipated exit eventualities.
  • Assume a efficiency stage for the remaining undeployed capital. Often, the undeployed capital is assumed to carry out as per the unique (or revised) building plan.

Combining the deal-level forecasts and the development plan offers the GP a present forecast. That is the brand new anticipated efficiency of the fund that takes under consideration its precise offers.

Deal-level forecasting

Constructing deal-level forecasts requires forecasting future rounds, future dilutions, and future exit eventualities for every funding.

Many GPs additionally construct a number of probabilistic eventualities for every deal (resembling a draw back case, IPO case, and a 1x return case) and summarize the leads to a Weighted Case Evaluation.

The results of all of this work is GPs now have anticipated exit multiples and future reserves for every lively funding.

Including all of it collectively

Combining the deal-level forecasts with the undeployed capital plan now allows GPs to investigate:

  • Precise deployment vs. plan: How have our precise preliminary checks deviated from our authentic plan?
  • Pacing: What number of offers have we accomplished so far, and what number of can we nonetheless do going ahead?
  • Efficiency: What’s our TVPI so far and the way does it evaluate to plan?

Reserve planning

Maybe an important good thing about forecasting is that it may possibly assist GPs optimize follow-on reserves towards their finest investments.

As soon as particular person deal forecasts are constructed, GPs can evaluate the anticipated return on the marginal greenback of funding in every firm. This allows GPs to check every funding on an “apples-to-apples” foundation and take alternative value under consideration. If the fund have been restricted on reserves, it ought to aggressively follow-on into the businesses with the best margin return.

The rationale this works is that you’re taking all quantitative and qualitative components, resembling TAM, administration crew, and competitors, under consideration for every deal when constructing the deal-level forecast. This anticipated return a number of is risk-weighted by all of the above components — enabling the fund to check one firm with one other in an goal method.

Placing this into observe

The above workflow will not be trivial to implement with spreadsheets and ceaselessly requires a number of sources to keep up these forecasts successfully.

That’s why Anubhav Srivastava based Tactyc — a platform that permits GPs to assemble and handle enterprise portfolios with out being burdened by spreadsheet workflows. Tactyc works with 200+ enterprise funds globally at the moment by empowering each supervisor with a data-driven strategy to fund administration.

A GP can construct a sturdy portfolio building plan in Tactyc in minutes. The platform offers the power to flex all the above-mentioned building parameters in an interactive mannequin with the intention to optimize the fund’s technique after which simply share the plan with potential LPs. See an instance mannequin right here.

  • For deal-level forecasting, Tactyc affords the power to bulk import your current investments after which forecast by spherical for every portfolio firm, together with mechanically reserving your pro-rata or defining a selected funding dimension.
  • Tactyc then combines your deal-level forecasting along with your building technique for undeployed capital to calculate projected fund efficiency. This helps combination your future capital wants and consider fund efficiency vs. plan.
  • Lastly, Tactyc offers strong portfolio insights and reporting. GPs can simply evaluate the businesses with the best marginal return for reserve planning, can analyze how their funds are deployed throughout sectors/geographies, and might determine their best-performing co-investors

Concerning the authors

Tactyc is a platform that permits GPs to assemble and handle enterprise portfolios with out being burdened by spreadsheet workflows. If you happen to’d wish to be taught extra about Tactyc, go to tactyc.io or schedule a demo right here.

Kailee Costello is an MBA Candidate at The Wharton College, the place she is a part of the Wharton FinTech Podcast crew. She’s most enthusiastic about how FinTech is breaking down boundaries to make monetary services extra accessible — significantly within the private finance house. Don’t hesitate to achieve out with questions, feedback, suggestions, and alternatives at kaileec@wharton.upenn.edu.

As all the time, for extra FinTech insights and alternatives to collaborate, please discover us under:

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