Silicon Valley is still the king of American venture capital: last year the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA metro area contributed just over $23 billion, or 34.13%, of the nation’s entire VC spending.
While it’s not entirely true that New York City is hot on its heels, the Big Apple’s wider metro area is the country’s second-largest spender with $7.5bn, or 11% of its total. As the tech industry becomes more diffuse across the States NYC’s VCs have become major players, leading thousands of funding rounds. Here are ten of the most exciting firms changing the industry from the city that never sleeps.
Insight Venture Partners
Founded in 1995 with a software-centric vision, Insight Venture Partners launched ahead of the curve – and have remained so ever since. The firm, headquartered smack-bang in the center of Midtown Manhattan, has raised over $18bn, has invested in over 300 companies and has overseen more than 40 IPOs. Its portfolio includes BlaBlaCar, Delivery Hero and Hootsuite.
Last year Insight topped New York’s VC lead investment table with 138 of its 243 rounds led from the front. That’s over half – showing just how confident the company’s storied management team are at finding the Next Big Thing.
Union Square Ventures
Union Square Ventures, established in 2003, is one of the world’s top-returning VCs, reaping almost 14 times what it has invested in the tech sector. Its co-founder Fred Wilson has risen to industry star status for having seen the potential in world-beating firms like Twitter, Zynga and Foursquare long before anybody else.
USV’s investment model is based on “theses”, and its latest, 3.0, was released in April. It details the company’s plan to back “trusted brands that broaden access to knowledge, capital, and well-being by leveraging networks, platforms, and protocols.” Expect USV to add to its more-than 100 portfolio companies very soon.
FirstMark, founded in 2008 just a stone’s throw from Union Square, specializes in early-stage investment, 90% of which are Seed and Series A cash injections. It 60-plus portfolio firms have included some of the most successful in recent years, including StubHub and Shopify, and its latest fund – the brand’s fourth edition – has $275m to spend on the latest innovations.
FirstMark was created with the goal to create a closer community, and, to date, it appears to have succeeded. It runs over a hundred event each year, with managing directors Catherine Ulrich, Amish Jani, Rick Heitzmann, Matt Turck and Beth Ferreira becoming stalwarts of New York’s startup scene.
Longstanding NYC investor RRE closed its seventh funding round this week, at $265m. That is no surprise. Since 1994 its team has unearthed some of the most striking high-tech brands, including BuzzFeed, Giphy, TheSkimm and Venmo: last year the firm made a massive 409 investments, far more than any other New York VC, 106 of which it led.
Its latest round brings RRE’s total funding to around $1.5bn – much of which is spent in the New York City metro area. To date it has backed over 50 companies in the region, making RRE not only one of its most successful venture funds, but also a vocal cheerleader for the city’s thriving tech industry.
Tribeca Venture Partners
Named for the trendy triangle-below-Canal district of Manhattan in 2011, Brian Hirsch and Chip Meakem’s brainchild has grown into one of New York’s best-loved, and trendiest, venture firms. It may lag behind neighbors in terms of buying power and number of rounds – Tribeca made just 76 investments to Insight’s 243 last year, for example.
But when Tribeca goes it goes big: focusing on software, medical, financial and media among others the firm has exited eight startups including AppNexus and Maxwell Health. It leads a third of all rounds it makes, too. Other successful rounds include Coinsetter, Eponym and Loftsmart, and a young team ensures that Tribeca has its finger on the pulse of what’s hot and not in the US’ second-biggest tech landscape.