Venture capitalists are compensated through a combination of management fees and carried interest (often referred to as a "two and 20" arrangement):

Management fees - an annual payment made by the investors in the fund to the fund's manager to pay for the private equity firm's investment operations. In a typical venture capital fund, the general partners receive an annual management fee equal to up to 2% of the committed capital.

Carried interest - a share of the profits of the fund (typically 20%), paid to the private equity fund's management company as a performance incentive. The remaining 80% of the profits are paid to the fund's investors [32] Strong limited partner interest in top-tier venture firms has led to a general trend toward terms more favorable to the venture partnership, and certain groups are able to command carried interest of 25–30% on their funds.

Because a fund may run out of capital prior to the end of its life, larger venture capital firms usually have several overlapping funds at the same time; doing so lets the larger firm keep specialists in all stages of the development of firms almost constantly engaged. Smaller firms tend to thrive or fail with their initial industry contacts; by the time the fund cashes out, an entirely new generation of technologies and people is ascending, whom the general partners may not know well, and so it is prudent to reassess and shift industries or personnel rather than attempt to simply invest more in the industry or people the partners already know.