How much should an average partner at a medium size venture capital firm expect to make in a given year?

On a net basis, maybe close to zero after taxes.

At least, until many years down the road, if and when your investments make a huge amount of money.  And only if they do.

The reason is in a medium size venture firm -- assuming you are a partner in just one fund -- your capital contribution (the amount you have to "pay in") will likely exceed your "salary" from the management fees.

In my case, my "salary" is $300,000.  Which sounds like a lot, but the capital contribution per partner is about 1.5-2% of the fund, or $2-$3m on a $150m fund.  In other words, I have to pay that much into the fund as a partner.

If the fund pays the partner "salary" (from management fees) for say 8 of its years, that's less on an after-tax basis (and close to it on a pre-tax basis) than the capital contribution.

And assuming it's an early-stage fund, you probably won't get any carry, or share of the profits, for 7-10 years.  You don't get any share of the profits until the VC fund first returns 100% of the cash invested back to the investors.  If you invest pre-revenue or very early stage, this usually takes at least 6-7 years and often materially longer. 

In fact, many VCs that don't come into VC with material resources have to take out loans to pay their capital contributions.  Loans.  To be a VC.

So for me at least, for the next 8+ years, my net take home pay as a partner will likely be $0. 

Then, only if we all invest wisely collectively (not just me, because I'm only investing a share of the fund), only then, if the fund has good returns, will I make anything on a net basis.

(Now, if you're (x) a partner in several funds -- which takes years -- and (y) time goes on, and (z) you get into carry mode because you've made your investors a lot of money, the economics then all change.  But not for a long time.  And very large funds (billions) can generate so many management fees that the equation can change there too.)


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