Heroes of Technology Venture Capital
Funding: The most exciting and terrifying word in your startup vocabulary. Your startup has a million things on its plate at any given time. You may already have the prototype, design, strategy, business plan... There’s just one thing (or millions of things) you’re missing - dollars. For startups, funding is crucial; no surprise there. There are thousands of venture capital firms to connect with, ranging in size, scope, age and focus. For budding technology companies, getting in front of the right type of investor is critical. Although your business may appeal to a different audience than mainstream technology funds, here are some of the top VC firms that cater to technology companies.
“Accel is dedicated to partnering with outstanding entrepreneurs and management teams to build world-class companies, from inception through growth.”
Founded in 1983 by Arthur Patterson and Jim Swartz, Accel partners is a global venture capital firm typically making multi-stage investments in internet technology companies. Currently, Accel manages over $8.8 billion from its offices in Palo Alto, New York, London, India and China. The firm has partnered with over 300 companies including Fiverr, Spotify, Facebook, Diapers.com, Modcloth, Focus Media, MetroPCS, and Etsy. In 2000, Accel Partners joined with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts forming Accel-KKR, a technology-focused private equity firm. Accel is currently increasing global investments by using market-specific strategies and for local geographies.
“In general, founding CEO's perform better than professional CEO's over the long term, and a venture capital firm that enables founding CEO's to succeed would help build the best companies and yield superior investment returns.”
The duo Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz combined forces in 2009 to create their own VC firm, after separately investing millions in Twitter. Andreessen Horowitz was the first venture firm to hold stock in all four of the highest-valued privately held social media companies: Facebook, Groupon, Twitter and Zynga. The firm is partnered with other companies as well, including Pinterest, Snaplogic, Rap Genius, Zulily ClearStory Data, Foursquare, ShoeDazzle, and Instagram. The company is headquartered in Menlo Park, California and John O’Farrell, Scott Weiss, Jeff Jordan and Peter Levine serve as general partners. Partners work together on behalf of all invested companies, and the firm has specific departments dealing with areas like marketing and recruiting.
“The firm's strategy is to be the first investor in technology-driven companies that seeks to create new markets and have significant growth potential”
Benchmark capital is a firm known for creating the first equal ownership and compensation structure for its partners. With a market value exceeding $100 billion, Benchmark has funded more than 250 early stage startups. Founded by Bob Kagle in 1995, the firm currently has offices in San Francisco and Menlo Park, California. Benchmark’s current general partners are Matt Cohler, Bruce Dunlevie, Peter Fenton, Bill Gurley, Kevin Harvey, and Mitch Lasky. Since 2011, Benchmark-backed companies have seen 6 IPOs and 14 acquisitions. Benchmark’s game changing moment was investing $6.7 in eBay in 1997. Current funded companies include Instagram, Zillow, Zipcar, Yelp, Red Hat, Twitter, Quora, and MySQL. Benchmark focuses on partnering with Social, Mobile, Local and Cloud disrupters.
“With a deep focus in our practice areas, we can quickly evaluate new investment opportunities, and, more importantly, bring our knowledge, track record and rolodex to the boards of our portfolio companies.”
Bessemer Venture partners was established in 1911 when Henry Phipps started a company with his share of proceeds from the sale of Carnegie Steel. As the longest-standing venture practice in the United States, Bessemer has come to manage more than $4 billion in venture capital with over 100 of its companies going public and offices in New York, Silicon Valley, Boston, Mumbai, and Herzliya. Bessemer has partnered with over 130 companies around the world including Pinterest, Skype, Staples Inc., VeriSign, Dick’s Sporting Goods, LinkedIn, Yelp and Millennial Media. Bessemer employs “roadmap” investing, supporting entrepreneurs it backs with sound startup experience.
"Our approach to investing is simple: we seek out visionary entrepreneurs, and give them the support they need to build great companies from the ground up.”
Founded in 1970, Charles River Ventures was originally created to commercialize research from MIT. The firm currently has offices in Boston and Menlo Park and has raised over $2.1 billion since inception. Partners include Twitter, Udacity, Vignette Corporation, Hubspot, Cloudshare, Yammer, Zendesk and Scribd.
"We invest in smart people solving difficult problems, often difficult scientific or engineering problems."
This San Francisco based firm was started by Peter Thiel and Ken Howery in 2005. In 2006 they were joined by Sean Parker and Luke Nosek. What differentiates Founders Fund from other VC's is that all partners, including Bruce Gibney and Brian Singerman, have been founders themselves or early investors in numerous companies. Current investments include Facebook, Powerset, Slide, Causes, Spotify, Practice Fusion, ZocDoc and Vicarious Systems. Founders Fund focuses on the areas of biotechnology, consumer internet and media, advanced machines, aerospace and transportation, and marketing analytics.
“Greylock partners with game-changing entrepreneurs to build market-transforming companies.”
Greylock Partners was founded in 1965 by Bill Elfers and Dan Gregory, later and joined by Charlie Waite. The firm has worked with hundreds of companies and has capital across partnerships worth over $2 billion. The firm focuses on the consumer services, enterprise infrastructure, enterprise software and semiconductor industries. Since its inception, Greylock has worked with hundreds of companies, producing 150 IPO’s. Notable companies Greylock has invested in include Constant Contact, Groupon, LinkedIn, Pandora, Red Hat, Zipcar, Aribnb, Facebook, and Dropbox. Greylock invests in seed stage companies through its Greylock Discovery Fund, early stage companies through Greylock XIII, and late stage companies through Greylock Growth. The firm has offices in the Bay Area, Cambridge, Israel, and India.
“Our knack for zeroing in on the Next Big Thing has set the industry standard for venture capital investing for 40 years.”
Since its founding in 1972, Kleiner Perkins Caufiled and Byers (KPCB) has backed more than 500 companies. The Menlo Park based firm focuses on 4 different practice areas: Digital, Greentech (environmental sustainability), life sciences (medicine, healthcare, biotech) and tech in China. Partners include Eugene Kleiner, Tom Perkins, Frank J. Caufield, and Brook Byers. KPCB has invested in several successful companies such as AOL, Amazon.com, Citrix, Compaq, Electronic Arts, Google, Intuit, Netscape, Sun, Symantec, Verisign, WebMD and Segway.
“We want to find founders and management teams with ideas and companies where there is the chance for us to be shareholders for ten or fifteen years”
Sequoia Capital is a venture capital firm founded by Don Valentine in 1972. Sequoia’s partnerships include companies in the energy, financial, healthcare, mobile and technology sectors. Based in Menlo Park, California, the firm has offices in China, India and Israel. Sequoia focuses on all 3 stages of investment, providing between $100,000 and $1 million in seed stage, between $1 million and $10 million in early stage, and between $10 million and $100 million in growth stage. Companies that have flourished with the help of Sequoia include Google, Yahoo, Paypal, Electronic Arts, Cisco Systems, Oracle, Apple, YouTube and Zappos. It is estimated that over 20% of the NASDAQ’s value is made up of companies Sequoia has funded.
“ We believe the irresistible economics of Internet networks will ultimately transform the entire global economy.”
Union Square ventures was founded by Fred Wilson in 2003. Based in New York, current partners include Fred Wilson, Brad Burnham, Andy Weissman, Albert Wegner and John Buttrick. Union Square has been involved with the development of 40 companies and has helped launch over 120 companies. Notable investments include SoundCloud, Twitter, Zynga, CodeAcademy, Disqus, Etsy, Foursquare, Hailo, Kickstarter, kik and Tumblr.