VCs often use the shorthand phrase “two and twenty” to refer to the 2% of annual management fees a venture fund might take and the 20% carried interest (or “performance fee”) it would charge. In a nutshell: If a venture fund turns a $100 million profit from its investments, the fund gets to keep $20 million of that, and the remaining $80 million is paid out to the limited partners.
The “2 and 20” fee structure was originally associated with hedge funds, but VC firms and other investment funds use it as well. The structure breaks down into two types of fees: a management fee and a performance fee.
The management fee is a yearly charge calculated based on the total assets under management (AUM). Typically, the management fee is 2% of AUM, but new data from Carta shows that the 2% figure isn’t as universal as you might have been led to believe.
First, it’s useful to understand what the management fee is for. Basically, it compensates the fund managers, regardless of the fund’s performance. So a VC firm that charges a 2% fee for managing a $100 million fund will receive $2 million per year to cover rent, staff costs, marketing, travel and, well, everything else.