Committed Capital – Definition

Cite this article as:"Committed Capital – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated September 3, 2019, last accessed October 20, 2020,


Committed Capital Definition

Committed capital is an agreement, based on a legal contract, between a private equity fund and an investor. The investor is then obligated to keep contributing money towards the private equity fund or the venture capital fund.

The investor has the option of paying committed capital in a lump sum or make little contributions over a certain period of time. This may even take a couple of years. These terms of payment are usually in the agreement where both the investor and the private equity are required to sign.

A Little More on What Is Committed Capital

There are many directions in which the committed capital can take. The investor could partner with private equity and make contributions without having any investment plans at the time of investing. This is usually referred to as a blind pool because you don’t know exactly what the money will do.

This type of contribution is flexible because it allows investors to invest their money where there is a good opportunity. The internal rates of return (IRR) are higher with this kind of flexibility.

Fund managers may be having a specific objective in mind at the time of investment. Here the contribution amount towards the committed capital is decided by the fund’s manager. He or she then gives the exact amount that will be needed and the exact period of time that the investor has to make the contributions.

This mode of committed capital is often preferred by many investors because it has a defined purpose. They also get time to align their set goals and their investment plans.

Generally, benefits of investing in committed capital may outweigh the risks, but investors should still be aware of the risks. The fund’s manager may have gotten a deal, but the available funds committed are not enough. This may force them to sell some of the assets they already acquired to meet the committed capital target.

Penalties for Committed Capital Defaulters

The investors are usually required to meet their end of the bargain depending on the terms in the contract with the private equity. If they fail to do this, then there may be severe consequences like penalty fees and payment of fines.

Also,there is the possibility of investors being banned from future investment plans and interest being charged on the remaining amount.

Management fees

The primary fund invested by the limited partners is usually charged management between 1.25% and 2.00%. Similarly, when the investor starts contributing towards the committed capital, there is a management fee that will be charged on the capital. This is to be paid regardless of the plan of the fund managers. Some private equity funds may only charge the management fee only on the capital that is invested and this is usually a little amount.

The general partners have a lot of different ways to generate funds from limited partners. This includes charging administration fees, placement fees, and transaction fees in some cases. The purpose of these fees is to take care of the overall expenses of the daily operations of the partners.

Before investing in private funds, it is important for investors to analyze the fees associated with the investment. Ensure the fees are reasonable as a careful investment is always rewarding.

The Bottom Line

Co-investing is known to generate a lot of interests and profits. However, many are not skilled or equipped with the knowledge of making the process a success. Most importantly, investors need to understand the depth of the dynamics of committed capital and the required skills for both parties to be successful.

Also, a business owner may sometimes be approached by potential financial buyers who want to purchase their business. The owner of the business needs to be extra smart to know what the accumulated committed capital can do. This will help to close the deal and determine if there will be a partnership between them.

References for Committed Capital

Academic Research on Committed Capital

The syndication of venture capital investments, Lerner, J. (1994). Financial management, 16-27.  The author collects samples of two hundred and seventy-one private biotechnology companies and uses them to evaluate 3 principles for syndication of venture capital. The venture capitalists who are experienced mainly syndicate 1st-round investments to venture providers having the same experience level. In the subsequent rounds, they syndicate investments to a less or equal level of experienced investors. In later rounds, the company performs well. The author makes an argument that the outcomes have consistency with the proposed explanations.

The structure and governance of venture-capital organizations, Sahlman, W. A. (1990). Journal of financial economics, 27(2), 473-521.  Venture capital companies collect money from persons and institutions to invest in initial businesses that can have high potential but a great risk as well. This study shows the framework of these organisations stressing on the relation in venture capital companies, investors, invested ventures and venture capitalists. The author focuses on the related agency issues and operating procedures evolved as a result. He compares the venture capital organisations with public corporations and leveraged buyout companies.

Private equity performance: Returns, persistence, and capital flows, Kaplan, S. N., & Schoar, A. (2005). The Journal of Finance, 60(4), 1791-1823.  This research examines the capital flows and performance of private capital partnerships. Average fund returns are nearly equal to the S and P 500, though funds are substantially heterogeneous. Partnerships with better performance intend to raise larger and follow on funds. This is a concave relationship. Hence, partnerships of top performance grow proportionally less as compared to average performers. Fund performance and market entry are procyclical at the industry level. However, established funds differ from new entrants on the ground of less sensitivity to cycles.

An analysis of compensation in the US venture capital partnership1, Gompers, P., & Lerner, J. (1999). Journal of Financial Economics, 51(1), 3-44. To observe the time series and cross-sectional changes in compensation schemes, venture capital partnerships are an interesting arena. The authors evaluate 419 partnerships empirically. Smaller and new funds compensation shows fairly less variation and sensitivity to performance than other funds depict. For new and smaller firms, fixed based compensation component is higher. The authors find that there is no relation between performance and incentive compensation. This evidence has consistency with the learning model where the new venture capitalists’ pay has less sensitivity to performance. This is because reputational concerns encourage them to work hard.

The determinants of venture capital funding: evidence across countries, Jeng, L. A., & Wells, P. C. (2000). Journal of corporate Finance, 6(3), 241-289.  This paper collects a sample of twenty-one countries and analyses the venture capital determinants. The authors, specifically, highlight the importance of GDP, labour market rigidity, private pension funds, IPOs (Initial Public Offerings), state programs and growth of market capitalisation. IPOs, most strongly, drive the venture capital investing. These factors have different impacts on venture capital financing. Labour market rigidity negatively affects the venture capital investing of an early stage while IPOs have no effect on it. If we compare the government and non government funded venture capital, the former is differently sensitive to the venture capital determinants than the latter one.

What drives venture capital fundraising?, Gompers, P. A., & Lerner, J. (1999). M (No. w6906). National bureau of economic research. This paper evaluates the venture capital determinants in the United States over the last 25 years. Shifts in venture capital demands have a significant and positive effect on new venture capital commitments. The commitments of taxable and non-taxable investors are equally sensitive to variations in tax rates of capital gains. If there is an ease in the pension investment restrictions and expenditures of industrial and academic Research & Development, they affect the aggregate and government level venture fundraising positively. Fund reputation and performance also cause venture organisations to greater fundraising.

Venture capital distributions: Short‐run and long‐run reactions, Gompers, P., & Lerner, J. (1998). The Journal of Finance, 53(6), 2161-2183.  Venture capital funding is legal insider trading. The informed parties can ideally evaluate the share price effects of transactions with the help of venture capital distribution. These sales are made when the value of shares runs up substantially. They generate price reaction instantly around the event. After months, apparently returns remain negative. When the investors decompose the short term and long term reactions, they are consistent. Firms distributions which lower underwriters bring public and also less seasoned companies show highly negative price reactions.

The performance of private equity funds, Phalippou, L., & Gottschalg, O. (2008). The Review of Financial Studies, 22(4), 1747-1776. The industry associations report the performance of private capital funds and overstate previous research. The ongoing investments’ inflated accounting valuation drive a large part of the performance. In the data, the authors observe a bias to better performing funds. They find the performance of net fees funds three percent on average per annum under the S&P 500’s. The risk adjustment brings underperformance to six percent per year. Finally, the authors share many misleading prospects of performance reporting and side benefits as the 1st step to explain.

Venture capital limited partnership agreements: Understanding compensation arrangements, Litvak, K. (2009). The University of Chicago Law Review, 161-218. This paper discusses the compensations of VCs (venture capitalists). It contains 3 elements, not 2, as generally believed, i.e. carried interest and management fee. 3rd element is the new finding ‘value of distribution rules’. It shows when VCs get distributions during the life of funds. VCs compensation is mostly manipulable and complex. However, investors do not use complexity for camouflaging high pay. VC quality proxies predict highly transparent compensation. But they don’t predict opaque compensation levels. Long term performance of VCs predicts fund size. The fund returns increase 1% predicting a 0.47% increase in overall VC compensation.

The cash flow, return and risk characteristics of private equity, Ljungqvist, A., & Richardson, M. (2003). (No. w9454). National Bureau of Economic Research. This research makes a detailed analysis of cash flow, risk features and returns of private equity with the help of unique dataset over the last 2 decades. The authors show that capital takes many years to be invested and more than ten years to be returned to produce excess returns. They provide many factors determining these schedules, such as competition in private equity funds and existing investment opportunities. The private equity produces excess returns on 5+ percent per year order to the aggregate public capital market. It may correspond to compensation for holding a ten-year illiquid investment.

The investment behavior of private equity fund managers, Ljungqvist, A., & Richardson, M. (2003). This article investigates how is the investment behaviour of private capital fund managers. The authors link the funds’ investment timing, exit decisions and the earned returns to variations in the private equity demand such that in the short run, the capital supply remains sticky. The existing funds speed up their investment flows and when the capital demand rises and the opportunities of investment improve, earn a higher return. For deal flow, a rise in supply causes tougher competition. The managers of the private equity fund cut their investment spending. These results provide strong evidence to current papers describing the performance determinants in private equity.

Does venture capital require an active stock market?, Black, B. S., & Gilson, R. J. (1999). Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, 11(4), 36-48. The US has better stock market ma as well as a running venture capital industry while Germany doesn’t have either. The authors say that venture capital develops particularly when venture capitalists exit by IPOs (Initial Public Offerings) from successful portfolio firms. It, in turn, needs an active stock market.  Understanding what is the link between these 2 markets, requires understanding the significance of exit by venture capitalists, implicit agreement over control between entrepreneurs and VCs. It provides a valuable option to the entrepreneurs that they can acquire their enterprise control again from VCs, in the successful event.

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