$33B Utah Retirement System Ben Lopez on how Institutional LPs are investing in VC fund managers

$33B Utah Retirement System Ben Lopez on how Institutional LPs are investing in VC fund managers

Benjamin Lopez is an investment analyst at Utah Retirement Systems(URS), a $33+ billion-dollar public pension system. Ben works within the Private equity team with a focus in venture capital Investments. He is a current board member at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah. Before joining URS, Ben was the Co-founder of Outbdcars.com. Prior to co-founding outbdcars.com he was an analyst at SBCC Fund and an associate at the University Growth Fund while attending the University of Utah where he received his MBA. Before enrolling in business school Ben was a scientist at Allergan Pharmaceuticals. He also graduated with a B.S in Chemistry from the University of Utah

Details about Utah Retirement System: https://www.urs.org/

She-VC Questions we discussed:

  1. From entrepreneurship to Institutional LP. Tell us your journey into the Institutional LP investment world ?

  2. Tell us about the $33B Utah Retirement System to our emerging and experienced fund managers.

  3. How your risk profile adjustment has changed over years and do you think there will be further changes considering the uncertainties and volatility in the market?

  4. Early stage investment fund have different fund return multiples compared to late stage investment funds As an Institutional LP, how do you navigate those dynamics?

  5. During an unprecedented uncertainty like this private companies tend to have a far less short-term volatility compared to publicly traded companies, which are subjected to rapid price changes from market forces that may not reflect their underlying company fundamentals. As more companies tend to stay private, as an Institutional LP how do you see the exit environment? will it look quite different than what it was in the last few years?

  6. Can you elaborate about the new market opportunities for emerging fund managers? And how has the market changed in the last 5 years?

  7. Venture Capital is one asset class which is also cyclical. The boom-bust cycle, appetite for high risk but it also has a lock up period for Limited Partners for as long as 15-20 years unlike hedge funds where LPs can redeem their capital out of market panic. For many of us we look at investment as permanent capital that protects from erratic market behavior and good investments need long term commitment. Liquidity has been an issue for LPs for a long time, in a time like this, how do you approach Liquidity position?

  8. Venture Capital has seen a great shift in the last 10 years where even pre-seed funds are now becoming an institutional asset class. Whereas more seed funds are launching full stack vc funds with larger AUM, to continue investing in the entire lifecycle of the startup. What is your perspective on the time diversification in private venture investing?

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