Startup salaries have gotten a whole lot more transparent in recent years. But what about VC salaries? How much do the people dealing out the dosh to startups get paid themselves?
Astrid Moullé-Berteaux, an investment associate at XAnge, a Franco-German fund investing in European digital, deeptech and impact startups, conducted a survey of 171 employees from venture capital firms in Germany to try to answer this question — and bring transparency to an otherwise cloudy issue.
“Over the last few years, I saw that there is a scarcity of data on salaries in VC, which makes it hard for people who want to get started in the industry to negotiate their salary,” says Moullé-Berteaux.
The report analyses compensation for analysts, associates and investment managers across gender and sector, and the correlation between salary and assets under management.
Here are some key takeaways.
VC base salary in Germany is high
Based on data pulled from Business Cool, Talent.com and Glassdoor, as well as her own survey, Moullé-Berteaux estimates that venture capital firms in Germany pay employees 10 to 25% higher base salaries compared to VCs in other European countries, excluding the UK. (VCs in the UK are concentrated in London and therefore have higher salaries in line with the cost of living.)
Germany has seen many rounds of huge amounts and the ecosystem is booming.
There are a few reasons why a base VC salary in Germany might be higher than elsewhere in Europe.
“Germany has seen many rounds of huge amounts and the ecosystem is booming. It’s the second biggest hub in Europe in VC after the UK,” says Moullé-Berteaux.
France and Germany are rapidly developing when it comes to invested capital. Also, many large US funds have offices in Germany, or are investing heavily in the country’s tech scene. This drives the VC salary in Germany higher to adapt to the new competition from the US.
Interestingly, VCs in Germany have more carried interest than elsewhere in Europe.
More than one-third of the associates surveyed have carry, and one-third of the investment managers have more than 2% carry, which is above the European average, according to Moullé-Berteaux .
Here are the average compensation packages for VCs based on role:
% of carried interest varies across roles
German funds are increasingly offering carried interest, even to junior roles, to compete for the best VC talent with the UK and France, says Moullé-Berteaux.
“German funds have realised they need to incentivise young investors by offering them carried interest earlier. Doing so gives (the VCs) strength and motivation to pursue this career path and stick to their funds despite wild competition.”
But understandably that carry increases with seniority. Only 14% of analysts received carry — between 0 and 1%. At the investment manager level, 87% said they received carry and 12% said they received between 2 and 4%.
Higher VC salaries for women
Salaries differ wildly based on the focus of fund
The results of the survey showed that, regardless of role, climate tech funds offer significantly lower average compensation packages compared to VCs with a general investment focus, or those working for deeptech, B2B SaaS and dedicated Web3 funds.
Investment managers at climate tech funds earn on average €100k per year, compared to investment managers at, for instance, generalist or deep tech/ B2B funds, who earn above €130k. Investment managers at Web3 funds can earn more than €160k.
Higher assets under management means a higher VC salary
It isn’t surprising that large VC firms with assets under management (AUM) above €1bn offer the highest VC salary to employees across different roles.
Analysts at the largest funds can expect an average compensation package of €89k. Associates can expect €104k, while investment managers can expect €245k.
The smallest funds with less than €100m under management are those that offer the lowest salary to VCs in Germany. For example, associates at these funds earn on average €71k per annum.