A general partner manages the daily operations a venture capital fund of which there are at least two or more partners.

 

They analyze potential deals and make the final call on what to do with the money they manage. 

 

GPs of venture funds generally have “skin in the game.” They invest their personal assets into their fund and are held personally liable for the debts and business of the firm.

 

General partners also have two main responsibilities which are raising money from investors (called limited partners or “LPs”) and finding quality deals.

 

In addition, the general partners are in charge of fundraising, analyzing companies to invest into, and making the final decision on capital allocation of the fund.

 

To learn more about other terms commonly used in venture capital, check out our complete VC Glossary.

 

General partner - Confluence.VC

What is a general partner?

A general partner (GP) is an individual that plays an active role in managing the investments of a venture capital fund. The GP has the authority to act of behalf of the business entity without the knowledge or permission of the other partners. They are responsible for a variety of tasks associated with the fund, such as fundraising, analyzing companies to invest in, and making the final decision on which investments to make.

 

Unlike a limited partner, the general partner may have unlimited liability for the business debts of the fund.

 

The GP is typically the most senior person in the venture capital firm. They are also the ones who bear the most risk, receiving both a larger share of business profits and losses than their limited partners. As such, they are usually highly experienced and well-connected in the industry, often having many years of experience as entrepreneurs or investors themselves.

 

The GP is usually the face of the firm, and they are responsible for interacting with the limited partners, who are often large institutions such as pension funds or endowments. They also help attract talent to work at the fund, in order to carry out the tasks associated with running it.

 

General partners play a critical role in ensuring that the venture capital fund has the resources necessary to properly analyze potential investments and make wise decisions. As such, they are highly sought after in the investment world and command a premium salary. If a venture capital fund performs well, then so too will its GP.

 

 

Need to level up your VC skills? We’ve got you covered.

Confluence.VC Resource Library

 

 

What type of work does a GP do?

A general partner (GP) is responsible for a variety of tasks related to the venture capital fund. They are in charge of fundraising, analyzing companies to invest into, deciding on the final capital allocation of the fund and making follow-on investments. General partners also communicate to the limited partnership about the fund’s performance.

 

GPs also need to manage their team and keep track of performance metrics within the portfolio companies.

 

The GP is the “face” of the firm, playing an important role in representing the firm to limited partners, investors, and other stakeholders. They need to be able to articulate the investment strategy of the firm and explain why certain investments have been made.

 

Raising the fund

A general partner is responsible for the fundraising efforts of a venture capital fund. This involves identifying potential investors, pitching the fund to them, negotiating terms, and closing business deals. It is an arduous process that requires specialized knowledge of markets and relationships with key stakeholders in the industry.

 

The GP must have a well-crafted pitch that explains the fund’s strategy and how they intend to generate returns. They must be able to answer questions from potential investors, as well as provide them with a detailed overview of the team and the fund’s portfolio companies.

 

In addition, GPs must be able to build trust with potential limited partners so that they feel comfortable investing in the fund. They must also maintain an active dialogue with existing limited partners to ensure that they are kept informed of the fund’s performance. This is critical for maintaining and growing a successful venture capital firm.

 

 

Effectively deploying the fund’s capital

GPs are responsible for evaluating potential investments and making key decisions about which ones will be included in the fund’s portfolio.

 

GPs must assess each investment opportunity on its own merits and decide whether it is worth taking a risk on or not. They must also take into account the overall portfolio strategy and make sure that investments are diversified across different sectors, stages, and geographies.

 

As such, GPs must have an excellent ability to understand, analyze and interpret financials and other related data. They must also be able to assess the management team of potential portfolio companies and decide if they are fit for investing in.

 

Maximizing the value of the portfolio companies

A general partner (GP) needs to be able to maximize the value of their portfolio companies in order to generate returns for their investors. This involves overseeing and guiding each company’s growth, as well as actively engaging with management teams, board members and limited partners.

 

General partners should have a strategy for each portfolio company that explains how they will achieve growth and generate returns. This includes setting goals, tracking performance metrics, and providing guidance for the company’s management team.

 

Making follow-on investments

A follow-on investment is when a general partner (GP) puts more money into a company after it has already received some money from the fund. It is part of the GP’s job to decide when and how much money should be put into the company again to help it grow and make more money for investors.

 

The GP needs to assess which investments should receive follow-on investments and how much money should be invested in each one. This involves analyzing the performance of a portfolio company, understanding its current goals, and having a good sense of the market trends that could affect its future prospects.

 

Keeping LPs updated on the fund’s performance

The general partner (GP) keeps the limited partners (LPs) informed of the fund’s performance. The GP is responsible for providing regular updates to LPs on how their investments are performing so that they can have clarity and confidence in the fund’s ability to generate returns. This includes providing them with detailed information on investments, portfolio companies, strategies, and any other relevant data.

 

The GP must maintain an active dialogue with existing limited partners to ensure that they are kept up-to-date with the fund’s performance. They must also be able to answer questions from potential investors and provide them with a detailed overview of the team and portfolio companies. Additionally, GPs must be able to build trust with potential limited partners so that they feel comfortable investing in the fund.

 

By consistently communicating and providing transparent data on performance metrics, GPs help create an atmosphere of trust between them and their LPs, which is essential for a successful venture capital firm. This helps foster a closer relationship between GPs and LPs as well as ensure that all parties are satisfied with their investments and understand what is happening within the fund’s portfolio.

 

Managing fund operations

Part of the general partner (GP’s) job is to manage the day to day operations of the fund.

 

This means looking after things like tracking investments and making sure money is going to the right places. The GP also needs to make sure that everyone involved with the fund (like limited partners and portfolio companies) have all the information they need.

 

Building the team

Building an effective team is essential for a general partner (GP) in order to ensure the success of the fund.

 

The GP needs to select and hire the right people who can help grow the fund and its portfolio companies. This means finding individuals who have the relevant skills and experience, as well as a passion for venture capital investing.

 

Want to hire from a pool of candidates with venture operating experience? Join the Confluence.VC Talent Collective to start getting introduced to investors that can 10x your next fund.

 

How does a general partner get paid?

A general partner (GP) is typically paid a management fee, which is a percentage of the total capital invested in the fund by its limited partners and are also entitled to a performance-based carried interest, which is usually around 20%.

 

General partners are also often eligible for additional compensation in the form of co-investment opportunities, where they can invest their own money alongside that of the fund in certain deals. This allows them to generate higher returns if their investments perform well.

 

In many cases, general partners might need to make personal investments in order to maintain alignment with their investors. This means investing alongside their limited partners in order to show that they believe in the same opportunities and decisions that they are recommending for the fund’s portfolio companies.

 

Finally, general partners may also receive other benefits such as restricted stock units or options with portfolio companies if they provide valuable guidance and advice during key stages of development. This helps incentivize them to help build successful companies within the fund’s portfolio.

 

Related: Confluence.VC Salary Data (2020 – 2022)

 

Fund management fees

A general partner (GP) is typically entitled to a fund management fee, which is usually a percentage of the total capital invested in the fund by its limited partners.

 

This fee covers the cost of running the fund and ranges between 0.5% and 2.5%, depending on the size of the fund and the LP’s preferences. This fee is usually calculated as a percentage of the total capital invested in the fund by its limited partners, and can be flexible depending on the size of the fund and the LP’s preferences.

 

Carried interest

The carried interest is another form of remuneration that general partners (GPs) are typically entitled to in addition to their fund management fees. This performance-based compensation is usually in the range of 20% and is earned when portfolio companies reach a certain level of return or liquidity event, such as an IPO or acquisition.

 

What is a limited partner?

A limited partner (LP) is a type of investor in a venture capital fund who provides capital to the fund but does not have any control over its operations. An LP typically contributes to the fund’s capital with a view to achieving returns on their investment, while relying on the general partner (GP) to make all decisions regarding investments .

 

What is the difference between a general partnership and a limited partnership?

The main difference between a general partnership (GP) and a limited partnership (LP) is that the GP has control over the fund’s operations and unlimited liability, while LPs have no control over the fund’s decisions and limited liability.

 

The GP makes all decisions related to investments and portfolio companies, as well as managing any disputes or issues that arise.

 

GPs are also eligible for compensation with management fees and carried interest, while LPs receive returns on their capital investments.

 

General partner may also be entitled to additional compensation in the form of co-investment opportunities or stock options from portfolio companies if they provide valuable guidance and advice during key stages of development.

 

Read more: What is a Limited Partnership Agreement? Your Guide to Understanding an LPA

 

What else is included in the partnership agreement between a GP and an LP?

The GP is responsible for making all decisions related to investments and portfolio companies, while the LP provides capital to the fund but has no control over its operations. Both GPs and LPs receive compensation, with GPs receiving management fees and carried interest as well.

 

At the end of the day, a general partner (GP) and a limited partner (LP) are two essential components to any venture capital fund. The GP is responsible for making all decisions related to investments and portfolio companies, while the LP provides capital to the fund but has no control over its operations. General partners may be entitled to additional incentives such as co-investment opportunities or stock options from portfolio companies if they provide valuable guidance and advice during key stages of development.

 

Overall, the partnership agreement between a GP and an LP should be mutually beneficial for both partnerships.

 

Bottom line

In order to fully understand the role of a general partner, it is critical to first understand the dynamics between a GP and an LP.

 

General partners are usually managing partners or co-founders who have invested their own time and personal assets into a fund.

 

Limited partners on the other hand, usually do not invest their personal assets and are large organizations like endowments, insurance companies, or pension funds that invest in numerous private equity firms to earn a return.

 

The relationship between these two parties is what creates the most value for investors. General partnerships take on more risk than limited partnerships, but also have the potential to generate higher returns.

 

For this reason, being a GP is often seen as the most coveted position in investing. While it may be more risky, it can also lead to greater rewards—making it an attractive option for many individuals looking to enter the world of private equity investing.

 

Want better VC emails?