Above: The most active venture capital firms of 2020 based on number of deals.
Despite the stresses on the economy caused by the pandemic, 2020 was an outstanding year for venture capital. Startups raised a record $300 billion over the course of the year. The best firms took advantage of a slower economy, deploying capital at more favorable terms.
So, who were the top venture firms last year? There are many ways to define “top”. If you are a limited partner in one of these funds, you would probably care most about the rate of return. But of course, you can’t judge a VC’s activity over the course of the year contemporaneously. Investments take at least a decade to prove themselves, so returns in Year 1 don’t really paint a good picture. How do the professionals — venture capitalists, founders, and operators — then judge a year’s work? Venture capital is a volume game and so we’ll look at the firms who were most active and participated in the most deals.
The 10 top venture capital firms in 2020, ordered by number of deals:
Sequoia participated in 66 deals over the course of 2020, up from 46 the year before and begins our list as the top vc firm. The biggest checks were made out to Robinhood, which raised a whopping $940M across 2 rounds. Sequoia spent most of their time in the startup capital of the world, backing 19 companies in San Francisco, the most out of any firm.
Accel funded 59 startups last year. Accel was the most active growth stage fund in 2020 , backing the most companies at the series B and series C (a total of 24 deals). The biggest of which was a round in marketing automation company Klaviyo, which raised a $200M series C.
3. Andreessen Horowitz & Lightspeed
A16Z participated in 51 deals in 2020, matching the number of rounds they did in 2019. Samsara networks, an IOT technology company was the biggest round they participated in at a valuation of $5.4 billion on 400 million raised.
Lightspeed Venture Partners also made a total of 51 deals in 2020. Lightspeed wins amongst this list for the best returns in the same year by taking part in Affirm’s Series G for $500 million. This was announced in September, and Affirm went public in January of 2021. The company doubled on IPO day, even after delaying the IPO to raise price targets!
Insight Partners deployed capital across 46 deals in 2020. Their biggest deal was in security, backing SentinelOne in a $3.1 billion valuation on a $267 million raise.
6. General Catalyst & Index
Both General Catalyst and Index ventures took part in 41 rounds.
General Catalyst got a lot busier this year, moving up from 30 deals in 2019. They led the round in Cityblock health for $160 million, their biggest bet of 2020.
Index Ventures also got modestly more active, up from 40 rounds last year. They participated in Revolut’s $500 million series D, their largest check.
Greycroft funded 39 companies, this year. Outside of YC, they were the most active seed investor this year, funding 9 companies that are just out of the idea phase. They participated in Fetch Rewards’ $80 million series C, the biggest round of 2020 for them.
9. GV (Google Ventures)
GV (formerly known as Google Ventures) invested in 37 startups. They slightly reduced their activity, writing 2 less checks than 2019. They were one of the most diverse venture capital funds in terms of location, investing in companies outside of Silicon Valley, including New Orleans, LA, Columbus OH, Lehi UT, and Bethesda Md.
Bessemer Venture Partners rounds out our list of venture capital firms, taking part in 36 deals, up from 33 the year before. Bessemer was the most active VC in new york, funding 11 companies. Their biggest round was into Minneapolis-based Bright Health. For a total $500 million series E.
This data was put together with the VC Deals App. To explore the data further, check it out!
Originally published at https://vc.deals.