Head honchos at PE and VC firms may donate to museums and sit on the boards of dance and theater companies, but do the firms themselves contribute money to the arts? The days when artists had rich patrons are long-gone, but there must be some examples of PE and VC firms supporting the arts. But what companies would receive funding? How does one support the arts if there’s a rate of return to target (you know, because the arts is such a reliable source of income)?
That was the question that arose when news came of Beringea’s $3 million funding of the Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME) a few weeks ago. The DIME deal seemed a solid answer to the question: perhaps PE and VC firms are now mainly investing in companies within the ecosystem supporting the actual pursuit of the arts, rather than directly supporting artists. But one data point does not make a trend, so in order to answer the question, we took a look at PitchBook data reaching back to 2010 to get a beat on the industry.