2017 was a stellar year for VC investments and on the back of that, the world’s most impressive investors have been recognised
No one would deny VC investors are paramount to getting startups off the ground. Indeed, with the final quarter of 2017 seeing a cracking £2bn of investments in the UK, there has recently been ample opportunity for them to shine through. Now CB Insights, the tech market intelligence platform, and The New York Times have utilised machine-learning technology to compile a data-driven list of the 100 brightest venture capitalists on the planet. We’ve drilled into this to bring you a rundown of the top ten stars.
(1) Bill Gurley
Beaming at the top of the third annual list is Bill Gurley, general partner at Benchmark. A Silicon Valley high-roller having invested billions of dollars across the likes of Uber, OpenTable, the restaurant-booking service, and Zillow, the property marketplace, Gurley’s rank shows the top spots truly pay credence to the bay area of high technology and venture capital.
(2) Steve Anderson
Below Gurley stands Steve Anderson, founder of Baseline Ventures, who made a pounce from tenth to second place in 2018. Anderson has an instinct for picking startup winners early in their entrepreneurial lives, such as Instagram and TaskRabbit, the online marketplace, which were bought by Facebook and IKEA respectively.
(3) Joshua Kopelman
In third, Joshua Kopelman, founder of First Round Capital, the seed-fund, saw success with the company’s ethos “no idea is too early” – a belief we know is shared by Anderson. Kopelman’s ethos was perhaps shown most recently by leading a $3m funding round for Promise, an ambitious anti-incarceration startup, alongside rapper Jay-Z.
(4) Alfred Lin
Alfred Lin, partner at Sequoia Capital, is in fourth place. A long investment background has him dubbed as possessing the “Midas touch” by the media, given he’s built up every company he’s worked at for a total of $2bn in acquisitions. And this expertise was no doubt put to use when partnering with one-man operation Admob, the mobile ad network, which Google acquired for $750m in 2009.
(5) Brian Singerman
In fifth place we see Brian Singerman, partner at Founders Fund which has a dedication to groundbreaking tech advancements resulting in some prominent seven-figure investments into the growing market of blockchain. It’s an attitude which only recently saw the company lead the $28m funding round for Harbor, the blockchain platform creator.
(6) Jeffrey Jordan
At sixth stands Jeffrey Jordan, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), with the company’s ninth year in business marking a total of $7.1bn raised across seven funds. Just shy of a decade has seen Jordan lead funding rounds for a wide spectrum of seed to late-stage companies from dabbling with CryptoKitties, the blockchain game, to bigger fish such as DataBricks, the data processing platform.
(7) Rob Hayes
Rob Hayes, a general partner from First Round Capital, joined up in 2006 for the prime prospect of building up businesses from his diverse range of interests. And with a palette of companies such as Uber, Square, Mint.com, the money management service and Gnip, the social media aggregator, to his funding name, Hayes easily lands at seventh place on the list.
(8) Ravi Mhatre
In eighth is Ravi Mhatre, co-founder of Lightspeed Venture Partners, a man with a history embedded in venture capitalism. This is perhaps shown no better than sealing big-time investments in companies such as Mulesoft, the software developer, which was eventually acquired for $6.5bn, as well as AppDynamics, the app-performance management business, bought last year for $3.7bn
(9) Mary Meeker
Penultimately in the top ten we see Mary Meeker, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, who has a knack for targeting digital practices and high-growth internet companies ripe for investment. Namely, Meeker has led funding for Waze, the GPS app acquired by Google for $1.1bn, Bitstrips, the bitmoji developer purchased by Snap, JD.com, Groupon, the e-commerce marketplace and Facebook.
(10) Jeremy Liew
Closing the top ten, Jeremy Liew, general partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, holds the trophy for being the first venture capitalist to back Snap, which is now worth a staggering $19bn. For Liew, this set off an array of high-profile investments, including Giphy, the GIF platform, Affirm, the fintech startup and Grubhub, the food delivery service.
Given VC investments dropped across the board in Q1 2018, it stands to reason that entrepreneurs may find themselves disheartened. But this list serves as a solid reminder to aspirational investors and startups that the right business opportunities are out there if they only remember to keep an open mind think ahead.