Nov 2, 2023
Venture Capital

Top 10 VC Funds: Who's Leading the Investment Game in 2024

Ivelina Niftyhontas

n the world of startups and innovation, some venture capital funds stand out from the rest, and every founder aspires to secure an investment from them. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most renowned VC funds and several of their top investments that shaped them as leaders in the world of venture capital.

Let’s first do a quick recap of the types of VC funding.

Types of VC funding

Seed stage

Seed stage funding refers to the first round of startup financing, typically pre-seed, seed, and angel rounds. VC firms tend to dedicate specialized funds for seed stage startups, with the hope of being an early investor in a unicorn.

Early stage

Early-stage funding refers to Series A or Series B funding rounds, which are usually done when a company has shown some traction and the potential to grow into a massive company.

Late stage

Late stage funding refers to Series C and D rounds or further. At this stage a company is expected to go public soon or it might need the funds to expand into new markets.

Top 10 VC firms in the world

1. Andreessen Horowitz

Assets under management: $35 billion

Investment to exit ratio: 16.71%

Invests in: Startups of all stages

Founded: 2009

Location: Menlo Park, California

Andreessen Horowitz, also known as “a16z”, is a relatively new player compared to some of the older venture firms. Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz founded Andreessen Horowitz in 2009, and the firm is located in Silicon Valley. Both were already well-known tech entrepreneurs; Marc Andreessen as the co-founder of Netscape and Ben Horowitz, a co-founder alongside Andreesen, of the software company Opsware.

a16z specializes in investing across various stages, from seed to late-stage ventures. It primarily focuses on healthcare, consumer, fintech, cryptocurrency, gaming, e-commerce, and cloud computing.

The firm manages assets exceeding $35 billion across various funds. One of their earliest investments in Skype was considered as an extremely risky bet at the time, but it worked out in their favor when Skype was acquired by Microsoft for $8.6 billion.

Notable investments include companies like Facebook, Groupon, Airbnb, Stripe, Twitter, Zynga, Coinbase, Lyft, and GitHub.

2. Sequoia Capital

Assets under management: $85 billion

Investment to exit ratio: 21.28%

Invests in: Startups of all stages

Founded: 1972

Location: Menlo Park, California

Sequoia Capital, arguably the most renowned VC firm, has a knack for attracting other investors when it takes the lead. Sequoia focuses on startups across various sectors, with a focus on the energy, finance, enterprise, healthcare, internet, and mobile sectors.

The firm has a strong track record and actively assists a select group of founders in creating exceptional companies. Sequoia also manages investments for a small number of nonprofits like the Ford Foundation and the Boston Children’s Hospital.

Don Valentine founded the company in 1972, when the term “Silicon Valley” was less than two years old. According to Sequoia’s bio, Don was a veteran of the semiconductor industry, and with Sequoia’s first $3 million fund, he backed both Apple and video game pioneer Atari.

Famous investments include Apple, Cisco, NVIDIA, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, PayPal, WhatsApp, and Zoom.

3. New Enterprise Associates (NEA)

Assets under management: $25 billion

Investment to exit ratio: 21.96%

Invests in: Startups of all stages

Founded: 1977

Location: Chevy Chase, Maryland

New Enterprise Associates (NEA) is a U.S.-based venture capital firm founded by C. Richard (Dick) Kramlich, Chuck Newhall and Frank Bonsal. With nearly 50 years of experience, NEA remains a top choice for many startup founders. While NEA does have a presence in Menlo Park, it stands out as an outlier due to its base in Maryland.

The firm boasts 1,589 investments in various companies. Among these investments, 333 have resulted in successful exits. NEA invests globally in various companies, however, their core focus lies in the technology and healthcare sectors.

Their diverse investment portfolio spans from seed funding to late-stage growth. In addition to technology and healthcare, they venture into other industries like internet, healthcare, and consumer software.

Notable investments include Patreon, Plaid, Upstart, Upwork, Onshape, and Uber.

4. Accel

Assets under management: $50 billion

Investment to exit ratio: 20.77%

Invests in: Seed and Early stage

Founded: 1983

Location: Chevy Chase, Maryland

Since its start in 1983, Accel has been associated with significant exits, including both Dropbox and Facebook. The VC firm primarily focuses on early-stage and growth-stage startups, and they played a pivotal role in the Series A funding round of Facebook. They’ve expanded their offices beyond California, and now have funds in India, London, and China.

Accel was founded by Arthur Patterson and Jim Swartz. Accel’s portfolio includes over 1,348 investments and 280 exits. Their primary areas of investment include enterprise software, consumer software, mobile technologies, and internet-related ventures, with over 200 investments concentrated in the software sector.

Notable investments include Etsy, Rovio, Braintree, Spotify, Flipkart, and Atlassian.

5. Tiger Global Management

Assets under management: $58 billion

Investment to exit ratio: Unknown

Invests in: Early stage, Late stage, Post IPO

Founded: 2001

Location: New York, NY

Tiger Global Management deploys capital globally in both public and private markets and has so far outperformed all other VC firms worldwide with the highest count of unicorn companies in their portfolio, a total of 209!

The firm’s investments primarily focus on the global Internet, technology, telecom, media, consumer, and industrial sectors. The private equity strategy has a ten-year investment horizon and targets growth-oriented private companies, while the public equity efforts emphasize deep due diligence on individual companies and long-term secular themes.

They were founded in 2001 and have affiliate offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangalore, and Melbourne.

Notable investments include Amogy, SleekFlow, CloudQuery, Flipkart, ByteDance, Stripe, OpenAI, and Shein.

6. Index Ventures

Assets under management: $13 billion

Investment to exit ratio: 21.91%

Invests in: Early stage

Founded: 1966

Location: San Francisco, CA

Index Ventures is a global VC firm with headquarters in Europe and San Francisco. It’s become one of the most respected firms after backing companies like Roblox, Etsy, Slack, and Notion. Their main focus is gaming, e-commerce, fintech, security, and more recently AI.

The firm was founded in 1996 by Neil Rimer, David Rimer and Giuseppe Zocco, when they raised a pilot fund of $17 million. Neil Rimer scooped up an award for the number one venture capitalist in Europe in Forbes' inaugural Midas List Europe 2017.

Notable investments include Betfair, MySQL, Facebook, and Zendesk.

7. Lightspeed Venture Partners

Assets under management: $18 billion

Investment to exit ratio: 18.79%

Invests in: Seed, Early, and Late Stage

Location: Menlo Park, California 

Founded: 2000

Although Lightspeed Venture Partners was founded at a very precarious time, just when the dot-com crash was about to happen, the VC firm still managed to cement its place as one of the most successful multi-stage funds. They were Snap’s first venture investor in 2012, a year after Snapchat was launched. When Snap went public in 2017, they were one of the biggest shareholders in the company.

The team actively invests in consumer, enterprise, and technology, with a focus on seed, early stage, late stage, and expansion stage. They invest primarily in the United States, Europe, Israel, China, and India.

Well-known investments by Lightspeed include Grubhub, Flixster, Cameo, Snap, and Giphy.

8. Khosla Ventures

Assets under management: $15 billion

Investment to exit ratio: 13.58%

Invests in: Early stage

Founded: 2004

Location: Menlo Park, California

Headquartered in Menlo Park, California, Khosla Ventures has accumulated a substantial track record since its inception in 2004, making over 700 investments, with 96 of them successfully reaching the IPO stage.

Vinod Khosla, a former general partner at Kleiner Perkins, founded Khosla Ventures in 2004, closely linking the two venture capital firms. In addition to funding technology companies, Khosla Ventures has a significant stake in cleantech. Their investments primarily target early stage startups and their principal areas of focus span across China and the United States.

Notable investments include Stripe, Instacart, DoorDash, Square, Okta, and Big Switch Networks.

9. Kleiner Perkins

Assets under management: $6.8 billion

Investment to exit ratio: 21.13%

Invests in: Early and growth stage startups

Founded: 1972

Location: Menlo Park, California

Over the past half-century, Kleiner Perkins has played a pivotal role in the success stories of tech giants like America Online, Amazon, Electronic Arts, Google, Netscape, Sun Microsystems, and Compaq. In fact, the company has been an early investor in nearly 1,000 technology firms and specializes in early stage, growth, and incubation companies. The firm is named after its founding partners Eugene Kleiner and Tom Perkins.

Other notable investments include Google, Stripe, AOL, Compaq, Twitter, and Loom.

10. Bessemer Venture Partners

Assets under management: $20 billion

Investment to exit ratio: 21.65%

Invests in: Early and late stage startups

Founded: 1974

Location: San Francisco

Bessemer Venture Partners, originally founded as a family office in the US, is a global company that’s earned recognition due to their expertise and success. The VC firm focuses primarily on companies in the healthcare, consumer, and enterprise sectors. They’ve made over 1,800 investments and have been a lead investor in around 35% of those investments.

Henry Phipps Jr., a co-founder of Carnegie Steel, founded Bessemer Trust to manage the Phipps family's assets. In 1974, the firm expanded to accept external investors, allowing Bessemer Securities to pursue diverse investment strategies, including private technology and medical companies. Bessemer Securities soon established an office in Silicon Valley in 1975 to access the growing technology sector. With time, Bessemer Securities' venture capital investment arm became an independent entity, now recognized as Bessemer Venture Partners.

Despite having a highly impressive portfolio and investment to exit ratio, they’ve also turned down many iconic companies! They have a whole anti-portfolio section on their website dedicated to their biggest misses, which is always fun to read. Some of the companies in their anti-portfolio include Airbnb, PayPal, Facebook, and Google.

Notable investments include Bumble, Yelp, Twilio, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Shopify, Twitch, and many others.

Other notable VC firms:

  • SoftBank Vision Fund
  • General Catalyst
  • Greylock Partners
  • Greycroft
  • GGV Capital
  • GV Ventures
  • Insight Partners
  • Canaan Partners
  • Anthemis
  • Bain Capital Venture
  • TCV
  • RRE Ventures
  • Thrive Capital

As we've explored some of the most prominent VC firms and their transformative investments, it becomes clear that these organizations have not only shaped the landscape of venture capital but also left an indelible mark on the business world. From early-stage seed investments to late-stage funding, the reach of these VC firms extends across diverse industries and regions.

These VC firms, with their extensive experience and diverse portfolios, continue to be instrumental in shaping the future of business. As they seek out the next generation of unicorns and breakthrough innovations, their influence is set to endure, making them the guiding stars of the startup universe. The world of venture capital thrives on innovation, and these top 10 firms are leading the way in the pursuit of tomorrow's success stories.

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