Senior Associate at first time fund

Looking to get some insight from anyone who has joined a first time fund at the senior associate / VP level. I’m currently entertaining an opportunity with a first time fund (~200-250MM) in a tier 2 city (Austin/Chi/LA) and wanted to get some guidance on what to expect for comp. I’m expecting cash comp to be in the low 200s but not sure how to think about carry or what to expect or how to navigate the ask here. 

would love datapoints from anyone who joined a first time fund

First time fund size:

Title: Senior associate / VP





I joined a first-time fund of a similar size at the Associate level (in NYC/SF). I'd probably expect 170-220 all-in comp depending on whether you're coming in as like a newly-minted Senior Associate with 3 years of PE experience or truly as someone who's going to get bumped to VP in 6 months. 

In terms of carry, could see anywhere from 125 to 250 bps, depending on how early you are to the table. If they've already closed some deals and you're like Employee #10, you'll have less leverage here than if it's just a blank sheet of paper. 


Thanks for the insight, much appreciated. I'd be joining as a newly minted senior associate. As it relates to the stage of the first time fund, they close the fund about a year ago and have made several hires, like 5 investment professionals (mainly seniors) and 3 ops/admin.

For a first time fund, does it make sense to aim for a bps allocation or mainly focus on a DAW target? Ex. Aiming for 125-250bps or simply aiming for $1MM DAW regardless of what that backs into

Most Helpful

I have two datapoints for similar size funds: $280k cash + 200 bps (backs into ~$1.5MM) and $225k + 50 bps ($250k). The latter is a shit offer obviously. I’d try to get something in the $250-300k range in cash but wouldn’t be upset if it’s less than that with the understanding you’d be trued up to market VP comp of $350-400k when there’s a new fundraise. I’d ask for $1.5MM in carry DAW which is slightly higher than other LMM offers I’ve seen but justified since you’re likely taking a hit in cash. 


OP here - This is super helpful. I just want to be realistic with my expectations heading into this. Ideally I would want to bring in $250k at the senior associate role. Given how small this new fund I wonder if they can afford it or think I'm asking for too much, which is why I’m trying to be tactical about the carry. Alternatively, given how small the fund is, I don’t want to go in asking for too much carry and come off as tone deaf. Ideally $250k cash + 200bps will get me to sign. Even 250k + 100bps will do it. 

For context. I’m a second year associate now and make ~$200k all in at an established $500-750mm fund. Typically a 2+1 and out shop. 2 years as an associate and 1 as a senior associate 


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