When visualizing infrastructure fundraising over the years, a mountain range comes more to mind than a flat sandy beach. Everything about infrastructure — amount of capital raised, number of mega-funds closed, time for funds to close — seems to go up one year and then down the next. The only straight-line metrics appear to be the number of total funds that have closed each year, which has gone down each year since 2013, and the percentage of mega-funds among that number, which has gone up each year.
And it’s the mega-funds that seem to have an outsized influence on whether it will be an up or a down fundraising year. In years when several mega-mega-funds close, the overall fundraising goes up. The following year, as those funds commit the capital they raise, fundraising totals go down. If 2016 holds true to form, it will be a down year. But several mega-funds on the verge of closing could break the cycle. One has almost broken the cycle all by itself.