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UPDATE: Just How Much Did VCs pocket on Google?

A few days ago I did a post that looked at the public filings on Google and did some calculations on just how much the VCs involved in Google made on their investment.  One of the calculations I made was an attempt to deduce what the personal carried interest of the VCs involved (John Doerr and Mike Moritz) by looking at the distributions they received as reported on their SEC Form 4s.

I recently talked with some folks who definitely know many of the actual numbers involved and they pointed out to me what in hindsight is a rather embarrassingly obvious fact: that the distributions received by individual partners include both carried interest as well as the proceeds from any personal investments made by the partners themselves into their fund, something which I had, quite stupidly, not figured into my deductions.  In many venture funds, these investments are usually quite small, somewhere between 1-2%, however in some funds partners make very significant personal investments and it's likely that both of the partners involved in Google had substantial personal investments in their own funds.

Based on this, I have no doubt now that the 40% share of profits that I deduced for John Doerr at Kleiner is wrong and that the 21.5% share I deduced for Mike Moritz is probably wrong as well.  Both of their carried interest shares are lower and in the case of Doerr, significantly lower than the 40% number I deduced.  While the absolute # of shares that have been distributed to them is still correct, there's no way to figure out what portion of those shares were for their carried interest in the fund and what portion were for their own personal investments in the fund without more information, so it's impossible to estimate their specific carried interests without that information and therefore it was in many ways irresponsible of me to even hazard a guess.

As I said in my original post, both VCs deserved every penny they earned and now that it's clear a fair number of those pennies came from the partner's personal money they put at risk and invested into the fund I have to say that I think they deserved their rewards even more that I though at first.

July 1, 2005 in Internet, Venture Capital | Permalink


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The thoughts and opinions on this blog are mine and mine alone and not affiliated in any way with Inductive Capital LP, San Andreas Capital LLC, or any other company I am involved with. Nothing written in this blog should be considered investment, tax, legal,financial or any other kind of advice. These writings, misinformed as they may be, are just my personal opinions.