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Asian Review of Financial Research Vol.29 No.3 pp.343-375
Performance Measures and their Determinants of Korean Venture Capital Funds
Sekyung Oh Professor, College of Business, Konkuk University
Jungwon Choi Doctoral Candidate, College of Business, Konkuk University
Jounggun Park* Managing director, LB Investment
Key Words : IRR,Multiple,PME,Venture Capital,Venture Fund Performance,IRR,Multiple,PME


Most venture investments in Korea are from venture funds supported by limited partners (LPs), and thus LPs always want to know the main determinants of the fund performance and how well their funds are operated. General partners (GPs) who want to successfully receive the investments for their venture funds from LPs are also very interested in the same issues. This study measures the performance of Korean venture funds using the public market equivalent (PME), internal rate of return (IRR), and multiple measures. The features and determinants of each performance measure are then analyzed using actual Korean venture fund data. Few studies have addressed these issues, due to limited access to and a shortage of Korean venture fund data. This study is the first to use actual venture fund data to investigate the performance and its determinants. To accurately measure the performance of venture funds, the Net Asset Value problem must be addressed. However, this study is free from that issue because the sample only contains fully liquidated venture funds. The PME measure (average 1.07) shows that on average, Korean venture funds performed slightly better than the Korea Composite Stock Price Index market from 1992 to 2010. This result may appear disappointing, but it is too early to draw conclusions, as our sample only includesthe funds formed until the early 2000s. The IRR is the most volatile ofthe three measures (its standard deviation is 10.2 times the average), because it is influenced by vintage years and market situations, such as fund liquidation periods. The average is much higher than the median for all three of the measures, suggesting that some larger funds perform considerably well. We analyze the determinants of fund performance based on three factors—fund characteristics, fund operator characteristics, and market situation characteristics—and find not only that each performance measure has different determinants, but also that the latter's explanatory power is higher for the PME measure than for the other measures. We also find that the PME and multiple measures exhibit similar patterns, whereas the IRR is biased as a performance measure. The determinants that explain the PME measure well are fund size, fund operation period, fund cash inflow and outflow, and the number of new fund formations. The determinants that best explain multiple measures are fund size and fund cash inflow and outflow. The best determinants for the IRR measure are fund size (negative relation), fund operation period, fund cash inflow, number of liquidated funds, and vintage year. For the PME and multiple measures, fund size has a U-shaped relation with fund performance, whereas it has a negative relation with the IRR measure. The fact that the funds smaller than $3 million perform well, especially for the IRR measure, is a unique feature of Korean venture funds not found in Harris et al. (2014), who studied U.S. venture funds. This suggests that the IRR can be highly biased for smaller funds. Remarkably, the shorter the fund's operation period, the better the fund performance in the case of the PME measure, but not in the case of the multiple measures. The performance differences among the investment fields stand out for the PME and multiple measures (especially the latter), but are not found for the IRR. For the PME and multiple measures, IT-specialized funds exhibit the best performance, and bio-specialized funds the worst. General funds without specialized investment fields only outperform specialized funds for the multiple measure. Funds with more than two cash flowsperform better than those with only one cash flow for all three of the measures. However, the IRR only shows a statistically significant result for cash inflows (liquidation), indicating that it is biased toward fund liquidation. There is no significant difference in performance between corporate venture capital (CVC)and non-CVC, between financial and non-financial venture capital (VC), and between individual and non-individual VC for all of the three measures. The number of new funds during the fund formation period has a significantly negative influence on the PME measure, and the number of liquidation funds during the fund liquidation period negatively influences theIRR measure. Because the average operating period of Korean venture funds is five-and-half years, the data used for this study only cover the venture funds mainly formed before 2005. With more fund data from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, as in the U.S., it would be possible to obtain more meaningful results. It is probable that we willunderstand more about the Korean venture fund industry once we reach the mid-2010s and have access to the performance results of venture funds formed during the 2000s, which was a booming period for the Korean venture capital industry.
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