Nick O'Neill

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The Wall Street Journal’s Top Venture Investors Of 2012

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When I read the listing of the Wall Street Journal’s top 50 Startups last week, I immediately began wondering which investors had the most portfolio companies in the list. While the article lists out the startups, they don’t let you sort by investor. I reached out to one of my researchers and had them compile all the investors to see who ranked at the top.

Unfortunately, it isn’t clear who the individual investors were as the article doesn’t name them. As such, I’ve included the top institutional investors. One thing to keep in mind with this list: it is not weighted by size of investment, instead it’s just the number of times the company was an investor in one of the top 50 startups. Obviously there is some bias, but I figured at the least, it would be interesting to see who had the highest frequency in the list.

The top 5 venture investors are below with the complete list of investors linked via the spreadsheet at the end of the article.

#1 – Duff Ackerman & Goodrich LLC

With 10 investments in the list, DAG Ventures surprisingly secured the top spot. Beating out those investors that would typically come to the top of mind when saying “top institutional investors”. With holdings in Tabula, Prosper, NeuroPace, Glam Media, Boku, Check, Quantenna Communications, Xoom, Marin Software, and Lithium Technologies, DAG is the top venture investor.

#2 – Accel Partners

Less surprising was Accel’s rise to the top. Following the company’s investment in Facebook, Accel has been getting access to many of the hotest startup deals. With holdings in 9 companies from the Wall Street Journal article, Accel remains as a top institutional investor. Their investments include DocuSign, Glam Media, UberMedia, Etsy, RockMelt, Branchout, and Counchbase.

#3 – New Enterprise Associates (NEA)

Yet another behemoth, NEA, had a total of 8 holdings from the Wall Street Journal article. These holdings include Tabula, 10Gen (makers of MongoDB), Boku, Xoom, and SmartDrive Systems. Keep in mind, many of the top investors are in all the top deals (sharing holdings with other top investors).

#4 – Venrock

Like many other top investors, Venrock secured an investment in Quantenna Communications, a semi-conductor developer focused on wifi-technologies. Additional holdings include Appia, Genband, Acceleron, and Neoconix. Based on all these companies it seems like Venrock’s investment in infrastructure and other hardware companies has paid off.

#5 – A Four-Way Tie

Sequoia, Meritech Capital, Mayfield Fund, Crosslink Capital, and Benchmark all came in fifth with 5 holdings from the top startup list. Popular holdings among these funds are 10Gen, Prosper, Marin Software, and Tabula.

One thing that’s clear from the list: many of the top investors co-invest with other top investors as they all have many of the same portfolio companies. While there are individual companies who only have one of the top investors, it appears as though many more co-invest (or get in later rounds). For the most part, there weren’t many surprises here.

However it’s interesting to see how few of the top startups are traditional consumer-facing software companies. Many of the companies on the list are B2B, most likely because that’s where a lot of the money is!!

If you’d like the entire spreadsheet that lists out who invested in what, you can check it out here.

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