Venture capitalism is not meant for the faint-hearted. It is the playground of the rich, where the typical conservative, staid doyens of businesses playout for big stakes. Initially sought by tech startups needing money for research and reach to the market, now the scenario has changed to encompass any idea that can be sold to the interested VCs with a future promise of returns. Financing, retail, supply chain deliveries, real estate, coffee, chai and more is the wide spectrum of sectors that have attracted funding.
Most Influential VCs in Silicon Valley
According to Venture Pulse, a quarterly report on global VC trends by KPMG Enterprise, the third quarter of 2019 saw US$55.71 billion of venture capital investment raised globally across 4,154 deals. In 2019, roughly $294.8 billion was invested in nearly 32,800 deals across the venture spectrums, according to Crunchbase.
Considering the scale of the investment seen across the globe in a myriad of sectors, let us take a look at the most influential VCs in Silicon Valley.
He is the co-founder of Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, also known as a16z He co-invented Mosaic, a pioneering web browser. He is an author, investor, inventor and a software engineer.
A16z has invested in enterprise, bio/healthcare, crypto, and fintech spaces. a16z has $10B in assets under management across multiple funds, including the $650M Bio funds, the $350M Crypto Fund, and the Cultural Leadership Fund.
He founded and later sold the software company Opsware to Hewlett-Packard. Andreessen is a board member of eBay, Facebook and HP Enterprises. He was one of six inductees in the World Wide Web Hall of Fame in 1994.
Andreessen Horowitz's portfolio holdings include Facebook, Foursquare, GitHub, Pinterest, Twitter, and Honor Inc.
Ben Horowitz, 53, is an investor and blogger. He is co-founder and general partner with Marc Andreessen of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He was a co-founder of Opsware along with Andreessen and they sold the company to Hewlett-Packard for $1.6 billion in cash in 2006. Later, Horowitz spent one year at Hewlett-Packard as Vice President and General Manager in charge of software development.
Horowitz started a16z with an initial capitalization of $300 million which has now grown to $2.7 billion. Since inception, the firm has invested in over 150 ventures, including Facebook, Foursquare, GitHub, Pinterest, and Twitter.
Horowitz is the author of The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers.
Horowitz's blog on the Andreessen Horowitz web site is syndicated to over 10 million readers and is required reading worldwide for any new entrepreneur.
Christopher Sacca, 44, is an investor, entrepreneur and a lawyer. He runs Lowercase Capital, a venture capital fund. His firm has over seventy technology and consumer startups. The fund invested in Twitter, Uber, Instagram, Twilio, Stripe, and Kickstarter.
Crystal English Sacca, his wife, is a partner in the firm. The Wall Street Journal has called him one of the most influential businessmen in America.
Before starting off on his own, he worked in Google and was a part of many of its groundbreaking divisions, and was the first recipient of its Founder’s Award.
At present, he is involved in philanthropic works and many charities work like Charity Water, Anti Recidivism Coalition, Global Citizen Year and more. He has been a part of the Shark Tank series too.
He has made 35 investments in various ventures. His company has invested in over 140 startups.
Fred Wilson is the co-founder of Union Square Ventures, a New York City-based venture capital firm with investments in companies such as Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Zynga, Kickstarter, and MongoDB. Union Square had $1 billion worth of assets to manage in 2016. No latest figures are available. Fred Wilson’s personal net worth is $1.2 billion.
He also founded FlatIron Partners. Wilson is the Chairman of the NYC Department of Education's CS4All Capital Campaign and is co-Chairman of Tech: NYC.
He was an early investor in Coinbase, a cryptocurrency marketplace. He is an avid blogger too. His company has made 61 investments. He is a member of the boards in Etsy and KiK.
Micheal Moritz, 64, originally from Cardiff, Wales, is a partner at Sequoia Capital. He started his career as a journalist at the Time magazine. He wrote a biography of Steve Jobs, "The Little Kingdom", well respected as an in-depth study of the man and his rise.
He made the jump to venture capital firm Sequoia in 1986. Forbes estimates his wealth at $3.4bn, but Moritz himself puts it “a bit higher”.
He has decided to finance the Booker Prize for the next five years. He stepped back from running Sequoia in 2012 but still comes to work and is on the board of 10 companies.
His investments include Google, Yahoo!, Skyscanner, PayPal, Webvan, YouTube, eToys and Zappos.
Dominque Vidal, 54, is a partner at Index Ventures. He was formerly managing director at Yahoo!. He is based out of the London office of the company. His current investments include BlaBlaCar, Criteo, Metapack, Navabi, Outbrain and Squarespace.
Previously, he ran Yahoo Europe and led Kelkoo from inception to its sale to Yahoo in 2004.
Dominique serves on the board of directors of Criteo S.A., a company specializing in digital performance advertising. He is on several other boards of companies, including Capa and Outbrain.
Klaus Hommels, 51, is the founder of Lakestar, a Zurich-based VC firm with offices in Berlin, London, New York and Hong Kong. Hommels launched it in 2012 after years of investing singly in ventures. Hommels was an early investor in King.com, Skype and Spotify. He previously invested in Facebook as an angel investor and was an early investor in Harry's, OpenDoor and Oscar Health in the U.S.
He was ranked as one of the top Europe-based venture capital investors in the global Midas List 2013, 2014 and 2015
David Lee is listed as a tee-ball manager for Bees Little League team on LinkedIn before his latest job listing as Managing Partner Refractor Capitals. Refractors raised $30 million for its second fund, according to the latest SEC filings.
It is being said that Lee will now be withdrawing from the managing partner role and will act as chairman of Refractors due to health reasons.
He founded SV Angel LLC with Ron Conway with whom he is entangled in a legal battle over fee and payments.
He was named amongst BusinessInsider’s list of top 50 early-stage investors of Silicon Valley in 2012. He has invested in companies such as Dropbox, Twitter, Airbnb, Flipboard, Foursquare, etc.
He helped start the New Business Development Group at Google where he was employed in the early part of his career
Jim Breyer, 51, is founder and CEO of Breyer Capital. He was earlier a partner at venture firm Accel Partners. The investment focus of Breyers is on social media, artificial intelligence, entertainment/media, digital health, data analytics, and financial technologies.
He has invested in over 40 companies that have had successful IPOs or mergers including Etsy, Marvel Entertainment and Legendary Entertainment.
He was one of the first angel investors to invest in Facebook. His other investments are Didi, Etsy, Zumper, Kensho, Grammarly, ethereum and more.
He is a board member of Blackstone Group and IDG-Accel China.
His net worth is $2.6 billion.
David Oliver Sacks
David Oliver Sacks, 47, is an entrepreneur, film-maker, and investor in internet technology firms. He is a partner of Craft Ventures, which he started in 2017. It raised an initial fund of $350 million and has invested in companies including Bird, Bitgo, Cloud9, CloudKitchens, Harbor, Lightning Labs, Multicoin Capital, and SpaceX.
Earlier, he was with Paypal and was its founding COO. He also started Yammer, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2012 for $1.2 billion. He was interim CEO of Zenefits for a year in 2016. He started blockchain startup Harbor in 2017.
His angel investments include Facebook, Uber, SpaceX, Houzz, Palantir Technologies, SurveyMonkey, Slacks and Scribd.
He has also made an award-winning film called Thank You For Not Smoking.