- LP Corner: Private Equity Fund Performance – An Overview
- LP Corner: Fund Performance Metrics – Multiples TVPI, DPI and RVPI
- LP Corner: Fund Performance Metrics – Internal Rate of Return (IRR) – Part One - This blog post.
- LP Corner: Fund Performance Metrics – Internal Rate of Return (IRR) – Part Two
- LP Corner: Fund Performance Metrics – Public Market Equivalent (PME)
- LP Corner: Fund Performance Metrics - Private Equity Fund Performance
- LP Corner: Gross vs Net Returns
In this post and the next post, we will explore measuring fund performance using internal rate of return or IRR. This post will provide an overview of IRR. If you already have a good grasp of IRR, you can move to part two of this series: LP Corner: Fund Performance Metrics - Internal Rate of Return (IRR) - Part Two.
In a basic sense, IRR is the return from a series of cash flows over time. In the Private Equity space, IRR is commonly used to evaluate the performance of private equity (including venture capital, growth equity and buyout) funds. IRR is best calculated using Excel, Google Sheets or another financial spreadsheet program.
Simple IRR Examples
Let’s assume that an LP commits $30 million to a fund, and that the fund returns $80 million in distributions to the LP. (For a discussion on committed capital, see "LP Corner: On Committed Capital, Called Capital and Uncalled Capital.") On a multiple basis, this equates to a Total Value to Paid-in-Capital (TVPI) of 2.67x ($80M / $30M) – which sounds pretty good. But let’s explore a bit deeper.
Note that in these examples, we are looking at cash flows from the perspective of an LP - payments made by the LP and money received by the LP. This is known as a "Net IRR" because it focuses on the cash flows to and from the LP. For a discussion of gross vs net returns, see "LP corner: Private Equity Fund Performance - An Overview."
Example 1: Assume that when the fund has its closing (which is time 0 for purposes of calculating the IRR in Excel), it calls all capital from the LP (in reality, this doesn’t happen, but humor me as this is an example). In five years, the fund distributes $80 to the LP. This looks like this:
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