Last month, we talked about how the financial crisis might impact the venture capital community
, noting that many more limited partners (LPs, or the folks who put money into venture capital funds) were looking to sell their stakes in the aftermarket. Bloomberg is now taking a look at the issue, noting that more than double the amount of stakes is up for sale
compared to a year ago, basically confirming that a number of LPs are looking to get out of their commitments. One interesting tidbit is that, in many cases, this has nothing to do with losses from venture capital, but due to the rules that the LPs (pension funds or institutional investors) have on allocation. As we mentioned in the original post, most of these investors set aside a certain small percentage of their money for such high-risk alternative investments. The problem is that with the rest of the market collapsing, these investors overall portfolio has shrunk, driving the venture investments over the self-imposed limits -- forcing them to sell off to rebalance. Partly, this shows the silliness of forced rebalancing under such principles. It's forcing firms to get out of investments that might be okay, just to keep percentages intact.
However, the bigger issue is hidden at the very bottom of the Bloomberg article. It's the question of whether or not any of these LPs are defaulting on their commitments to VCs. That's been the big fear. Since LPs merely commit to venture capital funds, and then wait for "capital calls" before actually handing over the money, the worry is that LPs would default. However, the article notes that there's no evidence that this has actually happened yet. It may still just be early, as the real market collapse is only a few months old, and there probably haven't been many (if any) capital calls in the last few months. But, does anyone know of any LP that has actually failed to meet a capital call? It would be interesting to hear if it's actually happened, or if it's just a concern at this point.