TL;DR: this year is an indicator of continued strength in the tech and venture capital world.
I did a teardown of the world’s top 100 VCs named in this year’s Forbes’s Midas List (Midas: the king who turned anything he touched into gold), which was posted last week. Here’s what I found:
The top firm on the list this year is, as always, Sequoia Capital. Combined with the horsepower of their international teams teams, they have led the pack (for several years now) and continue to deliver incredible returns. Also not surprisingly, Accel and KPCB are runner-ups, along with other same names as before.
Of the firms in this list, 3 of them operate in China (as part of Sequoia and Lightspeed) and 1 in India (as part of Sequoia). There may be a couple data points missing since some international funds might've not listed themselves as separate entities by firm name. Still, a key takeaway here is: there is an advantage to setting up shops in different regions in order to capture other markets (not to mention that the #1 venture capitalist of this year is Neil Shen, who manages the Sequoia Capital China Fund..).
Airbnb, Uber, Spotify and Snap not surprisingly made the top 4 deals that contributed to the listed VCs’ success. Most are publicly listed, but the highest valued are still private.
It’s very interesting to note, however, that while Dropbox led the hottest IPO deal of 2018, it was only captured by two VCs (namely: Bryan Schreier of Sequoia and Sameer Ghandi of Accel). We can all agree it is a highly successful company (I have a bias, of course), that unfortunately many were initially skeptics about in the cloud space. Spotify, with their notable and unorthodox direct public listing, also paved the way for venture capitalists’ success. Others such as Snap, Twitter, Square and Okta are already public.
Besides now public companies, the rest are still private (many of whom were founded 7+ years ago and collectively own $150B+ in market cap), which makes the cut for VCs so long as private valuations are skyrocketing. We all will simply have to wait and see what happens to Airbnb, Uber, Lyft and Slack as the next hopeful hot tech year unfolds.
Last but not least (and is very much the highlight and most important part of 2018’s list) is the rising power of women in venture:
Forbes is making it very clear that the topic of the List this year are the “Venture Catalysts: The 36 Women Secretly Breaking Up Silicon Valley’s Old Boys' Club”.
This powerful statement is shaking up the Valley – an industry so deeply entrenched by males. Of course, I had to dig into the data and do some analysis on the rising trends of women in VC; here’s what I found:
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One insight to gather through this analysis is that: the venture capital and tech industry continues to power strong; if you compare to past Midas Lists, many of the same firms and venture capitalists remain on the list (for women: all of last year's 5 remains in the top 100, with Mary now plowing at top 10 unlike previously), hinting at Funds’ continued successes. VCs are still winning notable deals tied to their success, and carrying back immense ROI back to their firm through liquidation events – mostly public offerings, but also M&As. The rest of the highly valued private companies at this point has a promising outcome as well. This leads to increased confidence in LP returns (many of the listed firms already raised a new Fund within the last 2-3 years). With the overall NYSE / NASDAQ markets strong, there is a strong appetite for deploying venture capital funding into startups, and the tech and founder community is only going to get stronger with their fuel.
Of course, my analysis only sheds light to the top 100 VCs of our year. I am putting faith in the legitimacy and reputation of those top 100 named as part of the work from Forbes, in partnership with TrueBridge Capital Partners. However, it isn’t holistic, and I am curious to see the rest of the 1000+ VCs listed, whether there is statistically significant data on the rising trends of industry vertical deals, firm growth and gender diversity improvements.
I'm an Investor @ Obvious Ventures. Previously, I was a Product Manager @ Dropbox, Uber and FiscalNote, & studied CS at Stanford. We also publish to worldpositive.com on Medium.
Ping me daniel@ obviousventures.com, or follow @dcliem – let's chat.