Valuing a Venture Capital Portfolio
Every quarter our firm goes through a process to value our entire portfolio. Those values, on a schedule of investments we publish to our investors every quarter, flow through to our financial statements and capital accounts and establish how much an interest in our partnerships are worth at that time.
We have always taken this process very seriously and approach it with a lot of rigor. Every partner is highly engaged with this process. Although we have a fantastic financial team at USV, we do not simply outsource valuing the portfolio to them because we understand that those who are closest to the portfolio companies will have the best view of what they are worth.
We have a few rules and I would like to share them:
– Be conservative. The auditors try to get us to mark our portfolio up to reflect “market prices” but we prefer to keep our portfolio marked below market prices, particularly in times of market froth. This leads to a fair bit of haggling with our auditors that is mostly a waste of everyone’s time but we feel that it is important to maintain our conservative posture.
– Get Ahead of Market Pullbacks. We like to move quickly to take our marks down when we see the market environment changing. Public stocks often lead private valuations by several quarters so we like to look to public market comparables and mark down quickly.
– Never Mark Higher Than Potential Sale Value. Every time we have (Read more...)