This is a monthly feature that runs down some of the most active investors in U.S.-based companies, looks at some of their most interesting investments, and includes some odds and ends of who spent what. See 2023’s most active startup investors here.
It’s a new year, but it seems no investor wanted to go too big in investing in too many U.S.-based startups.
Only one investor that was not an accelerator — Andreessen Horowitz — made 10 deals or more in January.
While many firms completed deals in January, most were in the four- to five-deal or fewer range. And one firm on this list making deals for U.S.-based startups isn’t even in the U.S.
We’ll see if the big firms quicken their pace as the year rolls along, but let’s look at who did invest in January.
Andreessen Horowitz, 15 deals
Well, maybe Marc Andreessen’s firm is optimistic and was just gearing up?
After making only four investments in U.S.-based startups in November, a16z made nine in December and then led all investors in terms of number of deals with 15 last month, Crunchbase data shows. Since the second half of 2022 the firm has only tipped that number once — making 16 deals last September.
Last month’s deal count, of course, included leading the $75 million round for Mountain View, California-based Q&A website Quora, which raised its first funding since 2017. The company raised the fresh capital for AI-related reasons — to help push growth for Poe, its AI chat platform.
Andressen Horowitz didn’t stop there with AI. It also led the $43 million Series B for Palo Alto, California-based Luma, which helps users develop 3D models using AI, and co-led voice AI startup ElevenLabs’ $80 million Series B at a unicorn valuation as investor interest in all AI tech remains at an all-time high.
Sequoia Capital, 7 deals
It’s a pretty steep drop-off to second place on this list, but Menlo Park, California-based titan Sequoia Capital made seven deals in the first month of the new year.
While seven deals in the U.S. may not seem like much, it’s actually the most the firm has done since last March.
Sequoia led a $35 million Series A and $5 million seed round for Oasis Security, a startup that is looking to secure nonhuman identities — such as when two applications need to communicate with each other.
The firm also took part in the aforementioned ElevenLabs deal and also one of the buzzier rounds of the month: Redwood City, California-based school bus startup Zum’s $140 million Series E led by GIC at a $1.3 billion valuation.
Zum tries to help school districts increase efficiencies and reduce the costs of managing bus fleets through its proprietary AI-enhanced platform.
Novo Holdings, 6 deals
This may be the first time Denmark-based firm Novo Holdings has made this list, but that’s OK. For this list, the startups getting funded need to be in the U.S. — not the investor.
The life science investor took part in a half-dozen deals in the U.S. last month, leading or co-leading five of them. That included co-leading New York-based OnCusp Therapeutics’ big $100 million Series A, and leading Cleveland Diagnostics’ $75 million round.
It is interesting to note Novo made only eight U.S.-based deals all last year.
- GV, Arch Ventures Partners and Alumni Ventures all came in next on the list with five deals apiece.
- Two firms already mentioned topped all firms in rounds led or co-led. Andreessen Horowitz led the way with six deals led or co-led and Novo followed with five.
- BlackRock topped the list for rounds led or co-led with the highest dollar amounts for January thanks to its Recurrent Energy deal. The investment giant invested $500 million into Austin, Texas-based Recurrent — a utility-scale solar and energy storage project development, ownership and operations platform.
- Y Combinator was the top investing incubator and accelerator in January with 10 deals.
This is a list of investors which took part in the most rounds involving U.S.-based startups. It does not include incubators or accelerators due to the fluctuations their investment numbers can have.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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