The depth of an venture capitalist or private equity investor’s “J curve” is typically 3 years. In good times (such as 1999) it can be as short as 1 year. In bad times (such as 2002) it can be as long as 5 years…or infinite. A “J curve” is the graphical representation of the value of a portfolio of illiquid investments over time. For example, in the first years of a venture capital firm’s new fund, they are deploying capital at cost and collecting management fees. Therefore, until they have a reason to write up the value of their investments (follow-on funding at higher valuations) or a liquidity event, the value of their fund is lower than the capital contributed. So, the depth or length of the “j curve” is the length of time that a funds value is less than the capital contributed.