Venture Capital Compensation

Dow Jones has out a new private equity compensation report, and while that’s not available to mere mortals, some sample comp data from 2001/2002 is, and it’s worth scanning. Someone will have to try to explain to me how you keep your favorite VC hungry and motivated at pre-carry comp levels touching a million dollars.

[Update] I now have the 2004/2005 figures, and I was in error. The average pre-carry compensation for managing general partners at U.S. venture capital firms has now passed $1mm. Remarkable. But to be fair, it is less than what independent buyout folks are paying themselves, both pre- and post-carry.


  1. Can you please explain this term carry and pre-carry? Thx.

  2. Brent Buckner says:

    By selecting for VCs who will use money (or, better yet, risk-adjusted return to LPs) as score-keeping?

  3. Carry (short for “carried interest”) is the component of VC compensation that comes from sharing with your investors in the proceeds from investment gains. So, your pre-carry income is what you make without any gains from investing. Put differently, it’s your base compensation, all else being equal.