MOIC Calculation Example: Financial Return Metric

MOIC, or Multiple on Invested Capital, is a financial metric used primarily in the private equity and venture capital industries to evaluate the return on an investment. It measures the multiple of money returned relative to the money invested. It's a way to express the return on a particular investment without taking into account the holding period.

MOIC = total capital returned divided by total capital invested.

For instance, if a venture capital firm invested $1 million in a startup and later sold its stake for $5 million, the MOIC would be 5x (or 5.0). This joint venture model uses MOIC as the hurdle threshold.

Uses in Finance:

  • Performance Evaluation: It helps investors assess the performance of individual investments or the aggregate performance of a portfolio.
  • Comparison: MOIC provides a standardized measure to compare returns across investments or against benchmark returns, even if the time horizons are different.
  • Decision Making: Potential investors might look at the past MOICs achieved by a private equity or venture capital firm when deciding whether to commit capital to a new fund.


  • Simplicity: MOIC provides a clear, easy-to-understand measure of return on investment.
  • Applicability: Useful for situations where investments have not yet been realized or are still being held.
  • No Time Factor: Unlike IRR (Internal Rate of Return), MOIC does not take the time dimension into account, making it easier to calculate.


  • Lacks Time Dimension: Since it doesn't consider the duration an investment is held, MOIC can be misleading. Two investments might have the same MOIC but different IRRs if one investment took much longer to realize than the other.
  • Not Comprehensive: It only provides a snapshot of return without context. For example, a 3x return in 10 years might be less appealing than a 2x return in 2 years.
  • Can Be Misleading: Without considering other metrics or the full picture, relying solely on MOIC can lead to suboptimal decision-making.

In conclusion, while MOIC is a useful tool for understanding the return on an investment, it should ideally be used in conjunction with other metrics, such as IRR, to provide a comprehensive view of an investment's performance.

Check out these joint venture cash flow waterfalls.