Investors

Top Venture Capital Firms that Invest in Early Stage Startups

Published December 12, 2022

In this post we'll look at the top Venture Capital firms that are investing in early stage, US based startups. We'll specifically look at Seed, Pre Seed and Series A investment rounds to see which VC firms have been the most active investors over the past two years.

Top Venture Capital Firms that Invest in Early Stage Startups

Venture capital firms are an integral part of the startup ecosystem, providing funding and support for early stage companies that have high growth potential. As job seekers looking to join an early stage startup it can be hard to tell what investors are "good". Companies name their investors in recruiting emails and splash them on their about pages but if your not an entrepreneur or investor you might have no idea who those VC firms are. In this post we'll showcase the top VC firms that invest in early stage startups. By early stage startups I specifically mean Series A companies and below.. that includes startups that are at the Seed, Pre Seed and Angel stage. We define a company as in a certain stage based on their most recent investment. This post focuses on Venture Capital backed businesses, so largely ignores successful bootstrapped companies.

We are going to look at the most active investors, not necessarily "the best" -- that means different things to different people. A Venture Capital firm is judged based on the return it provides to Limited Partners (LPs). LPs give VC firms money and then the VC firm invests the money in startup companies, keeps a cut and provides return on investment (ROI) to their LPs. For the purposes of this post we're going to look at the number of Seed, Pre Seed, Angel and/or Series A investments Venture Capital firms have made since the beginning of 2021 until now. Note that there's normally a couple month lag between a fundraising round is announced to the public and when the check is signed and in the startup's bank account.

Without further ado here are the most active Venture Capital firms that are investing in early stage startups, especially at the Seed, Pre Seed and Series A rounds..

Most active early stage startup investors

1. Y Combinator

This one isn't really a surprise to me, because Y Combinator (YC) invests in so many companies. They're pretty much the primary kingmaker of the Venture backed startup world. They're not a traditional VC financial firm. Instead they're more of a "startup accelerator" that invests in startups in large batches, giving a small amount of capital to hundreds of startups at a time. It didn't surprise me they were the most active investor on this list but it did surprise me the scale of their dominance. According to our data YC invested in 323 startups since the beginning of 2021 at the early stage round. To be honest I bet that's a bit conservative because try as we might not every YC backed company from the most recent batches are in our database. That will change in the future as we upload more but there are a lot of very small (1-2 people) companies that go through YC.

If you're interested in seeing companies or jobs backed by Y Combinator check out company search and filter by Venture Capital firm.

About YC:

Y Combinator was founded in 2005 by Paul Graham, Jessica Livingston, and Trevor Blackwell and has invested in over 2,000 startups, including well-known companies like Dropbox, Airbnb, and Reddit. The firm operates by providing startups with a small amount of seed funding and access to a network of mentors, advisors, and investors plus a "batch" experience in exchange for a percent ownership of the company.

2. Andreessen Horowitz

Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) is another top VC firm in the United States. It was founded in 2009 by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz after both men made lots of money running financially successful tech companies. Marc Andreesen was the "boy wonder" Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of one of the first web browser companies, Netscape Navigator, on their rise to stardom through Initial Public Offering (IPO). The business was later killed by the monopolistic Microsoft.

About a16z:

Andreessen Horowitz has invested in over 700 startups, including Facebook, Slack, and Lyft. Recently they've focused on crypto and have been a leading firm backing Web3 companies.

3. Tiger Global Management

Tiger Global Management invested in 50 companies since the beginning of 2021, according to our data. On their Wikipedia page it's noted they experienced significant losses of up to 52% in 2022. Their 15th fund (Tiger Global Private Investment Partners XV) raised in 2021 had nearly $13 billion dollars to deploy... so.. yeah, they're a pretty big investor.

Full list of most active early stage startup investment firms (2021 - Present)

There are a ton more VC firms and "angel investors" that poured money into early stage startups from 2021 to the present. By our calculations there were nearly 4,000 unique firms and individuals investing. I'm sure that's on the conservative side since we're only tracking investments for about 10,000 U.S. based tech companies. All that said here's the list of the most active investors and the number of investments they made (conservatively) since the beginning of 2021.

Click on an investor to view each investment firms' portfolio companies.

Investment Firm # of Investments
Y Combinator 323
Andreessen Horowitz 72
Tiger Global Management 50
Soma Capital 50
Bossanova Investimentos 49
Craft Ventures 46
Sequoia Capital 43
Lightspeed Venture Partners 39
Gaingels 37
Global Founders Capital 37
Insight Partners 34
Liquid 2 Ventures 34
Accel 34
BoxGroup 32
SV Angel 32
Khosla Ventures 32
Founders Fund 30
Greycroft 30
Alumni Ventures 28
Coinbase Ventures 27
Slow Ventures 27
Quiet Capital 25
Index Ventures 24
Bessemer Venture Partners 24
Initialized Capital 22

To discover companies in the portfolio of each of the above VC firms try clicking the link. You can also search our full dataset and filter companies by investor on the companies search page.