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What to know before launching your own venture capital fund

September 29, 2022, 1:33 PM UTC

There’s a lot of reasons someone might decide to go it alone in venture capital: Better pay, autonomy, an opportunity to make a name for yourself, a desire to home in on a specific niche.

But that doesn’t make it easy, or cheap. Venture capitalists who are launching their first fund need to have a compelling track record and a convincing pitch to limited partners—particularly in this market. They also are going to need cash.

I recently sat down with Haris Khurshid, who launched Chalo Ventures earlier this year and closed a $50 million fund to invest in early-stage Pakistani startups about two months ago, to better understand the ins and outs of launching your own fund—what to consider, and what it costs.

Here’s what first-time GPs should know:

Legal documentation

First, get ready to spend a lot on legal bills. 

“That’s one of the biggest kind of costs,” Khurshid says, noting these fees typically run at least $50,000 to $100,000. But it’s going to depend on the investor and the prestige of the law firm they select. For Khurshid, who started a hedge fund a couple years ago, he was able to draft much of the initial documentation himself, then hire an attorney to look over everything and refine it as needed. All in for Khurshid, it was about $12,000 to get everything squared away for his own fund.

While legal fees can be an expensive part of the process, it’s a critical one. Here’s some of the documentation you’ll need to set up:

—A private placement memorandum (PPM): This is a lengthy document that outlines the strategy of the fund, the team, what you’re going to be investing in, the risks, disclosure, fund structure, etc. (“It’s very, very lengthy,” Khurshid says). 

—An investor questionnaire: This document queries LPs on things such as their risk profile and whether they are accredited

—Limited partner agreements: These will outline the agreed-upon fees and carry and what the investing relationship will look like (some LPs, and especially anchor LPs may demand unique agreements with better terms). 

—General partner agreements: For VCs starting out with a partner, or several, this document would outline how to break up the profits. 

—Advisor agreements: Many investors will pay their advisors via a stipend or percentage of carry. This document would outline those arrangements. 

Then there’s setting up the legal entity itself, which has its own time and cost requirements. Some investors may decide to go ahead and hire marketing or inbound teams as well, which can be another major expense, though it isn’t necessary.

Because the upfront costs can be such a barrier, some attorneys may offer to defer the initial organization fees, according to Khurshid, particularly if an investor has a distinct strategy or team or has made a name for themselves in the industry.

Time commitment 

One of the most significant costs of launching a new fund is time. Khurshid says it took him about two and a half months to finish all the paperwork and set up the fund. For that reason, he began pitching investors while he was working on the documentation.

“I registered the company and made the pitch deck and started raising,” Khurshid says. “And then while I was raising and getting commitments, I was simultaneously drafting the documents.”

Initial fees

Something GPs will need to think through is whether they will need to make trips to meet with LPs or to sit down with founders for those initial investments. If so, investors will need to budget those costs into the fund launch. For Khurshid, who is investing in Pakistani companies, travel is a major expense, as he plans to go to the Middle East at least once a quarter.

Steep upfront costs can make it tempting for GPs to keep their fees high for Fund 1. But fees cut into the money you have to invest and generate returns for LPs, warns Khurshid. For example, a $50 million fund with a 2% management fee will be taking a $1 million cut right off the bat—money that never gets invested. 

“Ask yourself: Do I really need it? Or am I better off investing a lot of it in startups,” Khurshid says.


Porsche prices… After a remarkably silent year in the IPO market, Volkswagen Group’s listing of Porsche offers some much-needed good news. Yesterday evening, Porsche priced its shares at the high end of its range, at €82.50 ($80.23) each, and listed them this morning in Frankfurt, Germany, where its share price is currently on the rise. After the IPO, Porsche is the fifth largest carmaker in the world by market cap. The listing offers some relief to a sour IPO market, but it’s unlikely the broader market will pick up anytime soon.

Until tomorrow,

Jessica Mathews
Twitter: @jessicakmathews
Email: jessica.mathews@fortune.com
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VENTURE DEALS

- Satispay, a Milan-based mobile payment network, raised €320 million ($311.6 million) in Series D funding. Addition led the round and was joined by investors including Greyhound Capital, Coatue, Lightrock1, Block Inc.2, Tencent, and Mediolanum Gestione Fondi SGR

- GrubMarket, a San Francisco-based software and e-commerce platform provider connecting farmers and food suppliers with customers, raised $120 million in funding. 301 Inc. led the round and was joined by investors including Squarepoint Capital, Portfolia, Grosvenor Food & AgTech, Tiger Global, Liberty Street Funds, Walleye Capital, Celtic House Asia Partners, and Apeira Capital

- Workstream, a San Francisco-based hiring and onboarding platform for the deskless workforce, raised $60 million in Series B extension funding. GGV Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Founders Fund, Coatue, BOND, Basis Set Ventures, CRV, WiL, Soma Capital, and other angels.

- Rippl, a Seattle-based mental health company for seniors with dementia and other neurocognitive conditions, raised $32 million in seed funding led by General Catalyst and ARCH Venture Partners.

- Coalesce.io, a San Francisco-based data transformation company, raised $26 million in Series A funding. Emergence Capital led the round and was joined by investors including 11.2 Capital, GreatPoint Ventures, and Industry Ventures.

- Coral, a decentralized infrastructure developer, raised $20 million in funding. FTX Ventures and Jump Crypto co-led the round and were joined by investors including Multicoin Capital, Anagram, and K5 Global.

- Kumo, a San Francisco-based predictive analytics platform, raised $18 million in Series B funding. Sequoia Capital led the round and was joined by investors including A Capital, SV Angel, and other angels. 

- careviso, a Falls Church, Va.-based molecular diagnostic patient access health care provider, raised $17 million in Series B funding. Ballast Point Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Mercury and Lytical Ventures.

- Qnovia, a Richmond, Va.-based inhaled therapeutics developer focused on nicotine replacement therapy and cardiopulmonary diseases, raised $17 million in Series A funding. Blue Ledge Capital led the round and was joined by investors including DG Ventures, Evolution VC Partners, Gaingels, TL Capital, and Vice Ventures.

- EverestLabs, a Fremont, Calif.-based recycling operating system developer, raised $16.1 million in Series A funding. Translink Capital led the round and was joined by investors including NEC Orchestrating Future Fund, BGV, Sierra Ventures, Morado Ventures, and Xplorer Capital

- Jeli.io, a San Francisco-based incident analysis platform, raised $15 Million in Series A funding. Addition led the round and was joined by investors including Boldstart Ventures, Heavybit, and Harrison Metal.

- Invisible AI, a Palo Alto-based manufacturing A.I. company, raised $15 million. Van Tuyl Companies led the round and was joined by investors including FM Capital, 8VC, Sierra Ventures, K9 Ventures, and Vest Coast Capital

- CIONIC, a San Francisco-based bionic clothing company, raised $12.5 million in Series A funding. BlueRun Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Caffeinated Capital, EPIC Ventures, JobsOhio Growth Capital Fund, and LDV Capital

- Eclipse, a San Francisco-based blockchain solution provider, raised $9 million in seed funding. Tribe Capital and Tabiya co-led the round and were joined by investors including Infinity Ventures Crypto, Soma Capital, Struck Crypto, CoinList, and others.

- HeadsUp, a San Francisco-based conversion engine for product-led sales, raised $8.5 million in seed funding. 645 Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Wing Venture Capital, Firstminute Capital, Character, and others. 

- Aspen Creek Digital Corporation, a Boston-based renewable Bitcoin mining operator, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Galaxy Digital and Polychain Capital co-led the round and were joined by investors including Tamarack Global’s Jamie Lee, Tiger Management’s Alex Robertson, CMT Digital, Luxor Technologies, Mana Ventures, Gaingels, and Copper River Energy Partners.

- Femtosense, a San Bruno, Calif.-based A.I. edge platform, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Fine Structures Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including J2 Ventures, Quest Venture Partners, Amino Capital, Sand Hill Angels, Gaingels, and SV Pacific Ventures.

- Bridge Money, a Chicago-based supplemental income financial platform, raised $5.8 million in seed funding. TMV led the round and was joined by investors including Founder Collective, Kapor Capital, Acumen America, Bread & Butter Ventures, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Plug and Play Ventures, Basecamp Fund, and Ulu Ventures.

- Kopperfield, a Seattle-based EV charger installation company, raised $5 million in seed funding. General Catalyst’s Hemant Taneja and Lachy Groom co-led the round and were joined by investors including Giant Ventures, MCJ Collective, Shopify founder Tobi Lutke, and other angels.

- Monnai, a San Francisco-based consumer insights infrastructure provider, raised $3.15 million in seed funding. Better Tomorrow Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Commerce Ventures, Kearny Jackson, and 9Yards Capital.  

PRIVATE EQUITY

- Tikehau Capital acquired a minority stake in Probe Test Solution Limited, a Glasgow-based semiconductor probe card manufacturer, for $30 million.

- Centroid Investment Partners acquired a minority stake in Concert Golf Partners, a Lake Mary, Fla.-based owner-operator of private golf and country clubs. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Prescott’s, a portfolio company of Atlantic Street Capital, acquired Preventive Maintenance Medical, a Mount Vernon, Ohio-based preventative maintenance, service, installations, and refurbishments for surgical suite and laboratory sterilizers and washers. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

OTHER

- Calendly acquired Prelude, a San Francisco-based recruiting operations platform. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Cann acquired Sweet Reason, a Toronto-based CBD drink maker. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- GoTo acquired Miradore, a Lappeenranta, Finland-based cloud-based device management provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Legacy Restoration, a Plymouth, Minn.-based exterior restoration and remodeling services provider, and Janney Roofing, an Orlando-based exterior restoration and remodeling services provider, agreed to a merger. Legacy is a portfolio company of Bessemer Investors. Financial terms were not disclosed.

IPOS

- By spinning out Porsche, a Stuttgart, Germany-based luxury vehicle company, Volkswagen raised €19.5 billion ($18.9 billion) via Porsche’s listing in Germany. The offering valued the company at around €75 billion ($73 billion) and is Germany’s second largest IPO listing in history. Volkswagen remains a majority shareholder in the company.

FUNDS + FUNDS OF FUNDS

- Scale Venture Partners, a Foster City, Calif.-based venture capital firm, raised $900 million for a fund focused on cloud and SaaS software companies. 

PEOPLE

- Ethos Capital, a Boston-based investment firm, hired Hayley Kirman as a vice president. Formerly, she was with ABRY Partners.

- White Star Capital, a London-based venture capital firm, hired Tony Corbin as partner and CFO. Previously he was with PwC.

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