Latest news articles of ITS
Back to the overview

Managing wealth requires insight for informed decisions - Part 2 Private Equity Money Multiples

Friday 23 February 2024 - Hans Roodhorst
Private Equity (PE) investments are increasingly gaining popularity as part of diversified investment portfolios. This form of investment offers the potential for high returns but also comes with unique features and challenges such as the so-called “Money Multiples”. Understanding these performance indicators is essential for anyone considering investing in PE or looking to optimize their current investments.

The 'money multiples' are known as valuable tools for investors to gain insight into the value creation and liquidity realization of their investments. This article focuses on two essential multiples: Total Value to Paid-In (TVPI) and Distributed to Paid-In (DPI). These metrics provide a framework for assessing the overall performance and return of PE funds, crucial for investors aiming for informed decision-making.

What are TVPI and DPI?
Total Value to Paid-In (TVPI) is a crucial metric in private equity that indicates the total value of an investment in relation to the amount originally invested. It provides a comprehensive view of a fund's value creation by including both realized and unrealized returns. The calculation is as follows:

TVPI = (Distributions to Investors + Residual Value of the Investment) / Paid-In Capital

This metric helps investors to assess the overall performance of a fund by considering both the return already paid out and the potential for future value appreciation.

Distributed to Paid-In (DPI) focuses on the portion of the investment that has been paid back to investors relative to the originally paid capital. It is an indicator of the liquidity and realized return of an investment, without taking into account the unrealized value. The calculation is as follows:

DPI = Distributions to Investors / Paid-In Capital

DPI is often used to evaluate a fund manager's effectiveness in generating cash returns, which is particularly relevant for investors interested in the current, direct return on their investment.

Both metrics, TVPI and DPI, offer complementary insights into the performance of PE funds. While TVPI provides a broader perspective that includes both realized and unrealized value, DPI focuses strictly on the cash that has already flowed back to the investors. These metrics are valuable both in the due diligence phase, where investors need to make decisions on where and how much to invest, and during the investment phase to measure the success and potential of the chosen funds.

Advantages and Limitations?
  • Clarity and Simplicity: Both TVPI and DPI offer a direct, understandable view of the performance of an investment or fund. They are relatively simple to calculate and interpret, making them accessible to a wide range of investors.
  • Comprehensive Assessment: TVPI provides an all-encompassing look at a fund's value creation, including both realized and unrealized value. This gives investors a holistic view of the potential of their investment.
  • Focus on Liquidity: DPI specifically concentrates on realized return, making it a useful measure for investors interested in the liquidity aspects of their investments.
  • Lack of Context: While useful, TVPI and DPI can be misleading if viewed in isolation. They do not provide insight into risks, sectoral distribution, or the duration of investments, all of which are essential for a complete understanding of investment performance.
  • Variability in Interpretation: The interpretation of what constitutes a "good" TVPI or DPI can vary depending on market conditions, the specific sector, and the company's stage. This requires more detailed analysis and benchmarking to draw meaningful conclusions.
  • Timing of Cashflows: DPI does not account for the timing of cash flows. Early distributions may suggest a high DPI, but this does not necessarily reflect the long-term value creation of the fund. In short, it remains crucial to conduct a broad analysis from multiple viewpoints and not rely solely on a few metrics.
Alternatives and Additional Metrics
In addition to TVPI and DPI, investors can use a variety of other metrics and methods to assess the value and performance of PE investments, such as:
  • Residual Value to Paid-In (RVPI): RVPI measures the unrealized value of the remaining portfolio relative to the paid capital. It is a useful complement to DPI for assessing the potential of yet-to-be-liquidated investments.
  • Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) Analysis: DCF is a more complex but also more detailed method for valuing a company or investment, based on projecting future cash flows and discounting them to their present value.
  • Internal Rate of Return (IRR): IRR is another popular metric that measures the annual return of an investment, taking into account the timing and size of all cash flows. It provides a normalized measure for comparing the performance of different investments.
TVPI and DPI are valuable tools for assessing the performance of PE investments, offering insights into both overall value creation and realized return. However, as with any financial metric, it's important to view these figures in the context of a broader assessment framework, including alternative and additional metrics. By adopting a holistic approach, investors can gain deeper and more nuanced insights into the potential and performance of their investments.

If you also want to experience the benefits of comprehensive and professional investment information for your PE investing, please contact us via email at, or mobile +31 (0)651502620, or submit a contact request via our website Contact - ITS Trust (

With access to our Investor Portal, you are assured of a current overview of all your PE investments and characteristic financial indicators for your internal analyses and investment strategies.

ITS – Managing wealth requires Insight for Informed decisions!