The NYT has an article on how LPs are unhappy with US VCs – most of them, anyway – and has some interesting bits to it.

Some limited partners, whose billions of dollars help fund the investments made by venture capitalists and who pay their fetching salaries, are unhappy. They say the industry is far less healthy than it advertises and that but for the most successful venture firms, it is struggling.

Chief among the troubles, they say, is the little publicized but continuing fallout from the dot-com bust coupled with a public market that is wary of embracing technology start-ups.

The complaints took on an unusually public flavor last month at the National Venture Capital Association trade meeting, an otherwise chummy affair in Washington. At the meeting, a handful of experienced limited partners gave a pointed presentation to a room of several hundred top V.C.’s.

Most directly, some said that venture capitalists on the whole have not made meaningful payouts for years to their limited partners.

“It’s been almost a decade,” said Eric Doppstadt, director of private equity for the Ford Foundation, which invests in venture capital firms. “I find it shocking that an asset class that has provided so little payback continues to attract so much capital.”

Of course, the VCs weren’t going to take that one lying down:

Mark G. Heesen, the president of the National Venture Capital Association, countered that the views stand at odds with the growing sums that limited partners continue to push at venture capitalists.

“Limited partners may have their complaints, but the demand for participation in the venture capital asset class remains extremely high,” Mr. Heesen said. “This is a high-risk, high-reward game — not only for the venture capitalists but for their investors as well.”

This graphic gives some data to help make your own mind up.

Returns to LPs from VC funds