UK Venture Capital returns comparable with those in US, finds latest research by the British Business Bank

Press release 24 October 2019

  • UK Venture Capital (VC) funds with a 2002-2006 vintage outperformed US VC funds.
  • From 2007 onwards, UK VC funds’ performance is only slightly below that of the US.
  • Over the entire 2002-2011 time period, UK VC returns come out slightly ahead of those of the US.

Latest market analysis from the British Business Bank published today finds that, contrary to widespread misperceptions, UK Venture Capital produces similar returns to that of the US.

The new report, Analysis of UK VC Financial Returns, draws together data from existing data sources including PitchBook and Preqin, and from the Bank’s own programmes, to provide as comprehensive a picture as possible of the asset class and its performance.

According to the research

  • For funds with a 2002-2006 vintage, UK VC funds outperformed US VC funds, with a pooled Distribution to Paid-In (DPI) of 1.95 compared to 1.04
  • From 2007 onwards, UK VC funds’ performance is only slightly lower than the US, with a UK pooled Total Value Paid-in (TVPI) of 1.54 compared to 1.88 for the US, a 0.3-point difference
  • The DPI of UK VC Funds with a 2002-2006 vintage (1.95) is even comparable with that of US funds when they were at their highest, in the 1980s (2.22) and 1990s (2.56).
  • UK VC funds share a similar distribution of returns compared to US funds, apart from a small number of top US funds that outperform significantly.

This new report is a first step towards meeting one of the main recommendations of the British Business Bank/Oliver Wyman Future of DC Pensions report published last month: that the Bank should take the lead to improve the quality of data demonstrating the level of UK VC returns.

The recommendation arose from the finding that publicly available data on VC returns comes from a small number of data sources and can be inconsistent.

This report provides the most comprehensive and robust approach to date for assessing the comparative performance of UK VC funds compared to US VC funds since 2002, and makes a specific case for UK VC within global VC allocations. We will continue to make available aggregate level data on both our own funds and on UK VC more generally to demonstrate that the UK VC market can be an attractive asset class. Alice Hu Wagner MD for Strategy, Economics and Business Development at the British Business Bank
View/download the report View/download the report

Further Information

Notes to editors

About the British Business Bank

The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.

The British Business Bank is currently supporting more than £6.6bn of finance to over 89,000 smaller businesses (as at end of March 2019).

As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses:

The British Business Bank Finance Hub provides independent and impartial information to high-growth businesses about their finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success. The new site also features case studies and learnings from real businesses to guide businesses through the process of applying for growth finance.

As the holding company of the group operating under the trading name of British Business Bank, British Business Bank plc is wholly owned by HM Government and is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The British Business Bank operates under its own brand name through a number of subsidiaries, one of which is authorised and regulated by the FCA.

British Business Bank plc and its principal operating subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. A complete legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries can be found on the British Business Bank plc website.