First-time private equity funds secured $26 billion in capital commitments across 226 funds in 2017, data from market analyst Preqin showed.
This is a significant decline from the 283 first-time funds that closed in the preceding year, which secured a total value of $36 billion.
Overall, the private equity industry is seeing an unprecedented period of fundraising. However, first-time funds accounted for a quarter of all funds closed during 2017 but just 6% of capital raised, marking a 10-year low. In fact, there has been little movement in the proportion invested by private equity investors in first-time funds since 2012.
As of the end of 2017, almost half of investors (49%) will consider investing in first-time funds, on par with five years prior. However, the proportion that will not invest has risen from 37% to 41% in the same period.
For Preqin’s head of private equity products Christopher Elvin, the past year is a record year for private equity fundraising, with aggregate capital raised exceeding $450 billion.
He said: “While it may seem that this rising private equity tide has not lifted all boats, first-time funds are still seeing significant activity: over 200 funds raised $26bn, a decline from 2016 but in line with historical trends.”
Elvin added: “Furthermore, first-time funds are raising capital more quickly on average, and greater proportions are meeting or exceeding their fundraising targets than ever before.”
First-time fund managers grapple with an increasingly competitive fundraising market and struggle to differentiate themselves to lure investors.
“A significant proportion of investors will not commit to them, and while first-time funds may outperform on average, investors are facing an increasing challenge in identifying the right funds for their objectives,” Elvin said.