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By Fred R. Kaen

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In 2004, the last year the data is publicly available, the breakdown was pension funds (42%), financial and insurance (25%), Endowments and foundations (21%), Individual and family (10%), and Corporations (2%). 6 Lerner, Schoar, and Wongsunwai (2007) document this performance. 2 THE LIMITED PARTNERS 29 explains only part of their superior returns, and that the endowments have in fact also done very well with their recent partnerships. Since 1980, individuals and families have contributed about 11 percent of total committed capital, with this fraction falling slightly in recent years.

This communications revolution was real, even if some potential profits from the revolution proved to be illusory. Lower costs of communication opened up new opportunities for market transactions, with lower transaction costs than traditional methods. According to the theory of the firm first introduced by Ronald Coase in 1937, a universal reduction in transaction costs should reduce the optimal scale of firms and allow for greater levels of innovation by small companies. By this reasoning, the higher levels of VC investment that we see today— as compared to the 1980s—may indeed represent an optimal reaction to structural changes in the economy.

Throughout this book, we will use a few prototype VC funds as example investors. Because the compensation structures and partnership agreements of VCs are an important driver of their investment incentives, it is useful to write down some key terms from these agreements for our prototype funds. C shows some key terms for Owl Ventures IX, a $500M ninth fund raised by a late-stage firm with a stellar reputation and excellent track record. We will refer to these appendices several times in this chapter and later on in the text.

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