Investing in venture capital funds looks like a solid bet for putting your money when viewed with a 10-year horizon.

Returns in that time period continued its upward climb for the 11th consecutive quarter, according to a new study from the National Venture Capital Association and investment consultancy Cambridge Associates. But returns across the one, three, five and 20-year horizons fell slightly as of the end of 2012.

Mark Heesen, president of the NVCA, noted that 2012 was the first post-bubble year in which venture funds collectively distributed more cash to limited partners than they brought in, a result of several large exits – acquisition or initial public offering of companies held in VC investment portfolios.

“With lower IPO and acquisitions volumes in the first half of the year, we are counting on a more robust exit market beginning in the third quarter to continue along this constructive path,” Heesen said in a statement.

Venture capital investment demonstrated better returns when compared to public investments most of the time. The NVCA’s venture capital index outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq Composite Index and the S&P 500 in the three to five and 15 to 20-year time horizons. The NVCA venture capital index fell short of the public indices in the one and 10-year periods.