Stunning returns for Google VCs

In one of his landmark posts, Bill Burnham dissected SEC filings and other publicly available information to tell us Just How Much Did VCs Pocket On Google?

I recommend the reading to anyone interested in understanding VC exits, and to some extent, how profits are split in VC partnerships – unequally so.

As a reminder, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital invested $12.5M each in Google in 1999, for about 24M shares. Both funds have distributed a majority of these shares to their own investors, otherwise their investment would be worth $7.1B (at today’s closing price).

Because of the distributions of shares at "lower prices", Bill estimated the value of KP’s investment at $4.3B, i.e a multiple of 344x in 6 years. This is the number that will be used to calculate the performance of their $500M fund IX (?), which was returned multiple times with just that investment.

Sequoia Capital invested out of their $250M fund VII, and got similar returns (Bill could not track down the exact timing of distributions to Limited Partners).

In both cases, General Partners – whose carried interest is reportedly 30% – made at least $1B.

Not bad for backing something that started as "BackRub".


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    As a reminder, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital invested $12.5M each in Google in 1999, for about 24M shares. Both funds have distributed a majority of these shares to their own investors, otherwise their investment would be…