NYC vs SF startup scene

I sent out this tweet survey and got a lot of responses , so this blog post is to provide the actual answer and the underlying data.

The tldr is that NY Metro tech scene is 50% the size of the Bay Area tech scene, I’m sure you might be surprised or skeptical, just hear me out.  18% of the twitter survey respondents got it right.

The correct answer to the survey really depends on what data you are analyzing and comparing, so really all the twitter survey responses COULD be accurate , it is all about how you slice & dice it.

For the data gathering, I used two publicly available (you need subscriptions) data sources , PitchBook and CB Insights, which are my favorite tools for startup/VC information.

Now this isn’t about NYC vs SF but a bit broader NY Metro vs Bay Area, is captures the full startup scene as comparing distinct cities isn’t comprehensive. Example , there are startups in Palo Alto, Oakland and Jersey City, these are examples of other cities need to be included in a comparison.

I looked at startups and VC firms to measure the tech community.   Both the startups and VC firms had to be HQ’d in the respective regions that I’m comparing.  I wanted to look at data that was more a leading indicator (early stage companies) as opposed to a lagging indicator (late stage / public companies).   I believe that looking at early stage companies will give us a better sense of where these respective markets are headed and the potential they hold.

For the startup side, I reviewed the number of deals, the number of rounds and the aggregate amount of the funding. The time period was Jan 1st 2017 to May 9th 2019. The rounds of financing for the comparison was Seed, Series A and Series B.  In terms of sectors, it was comprehensive, so life science, energy , consumer , enterprise , etc was included.

For the VC firms , I looked at funds that were raised between Jan 1st 2016 and May 9 2019. As you may have noticed , I used a slightly longer time period (one additional year) for VC funds, as some VC firms only raise capital once every three years, so wanted to capture all the relevant funds. The funds were both early and growth stage funds, similar to companies , included all funds regardless of sector focus (or geography focus). I also looked at the number of firms, which is distinct from the number of funds, although they are obviously related.

Here is the first piece of the data, which you can see includes some bonus data with expanded time horizons on the funds side.

Here is a visual on the number of VC firms, per PitchBook:

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Here is the data on the company side, are you can see there is discrepancy between CB Insights and Pitchbook on the aggregate amount of funding but in terms of number of companies, they are similar.

Here is a visual of number of VC funded companies via PitchBook.

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So to summarize, I believe the NYC Metro scene is about half the size of the Bay Area startup scene (18% of the respondents to the twitter survey got that question right).  I have never thought that the two metro regions would be equal in size but have mentioned before that I thought NY could be half the size, I’m really surprised it happened this quickly though.

If you have any comments or thoughts, please post or hit me up on twitter @shaig.  Thanks for reading this far……

2019 – a ton of $ floating round

2018 has been an ugly year for many public companies.

2018 has been a great year for many private companies and expect 2019 to be as good.

If you are a Founder/CEO of a VC backed startup, you shouldn’t feel down about access to capital, there is a ton of cash floating around.

In 2018, $75 BILLION has been raised by US based VC firms.  The $75B is an aggregate of 286 new VC funds raised in 2018.  The $75B doesn’t include non-US based firms who are actively investing here or corporate investors or family offices or Softbank.  Point being is there a lot of capital available if you are staying private and need more money.

The put the $75B into context, if you look at the VC fundraising data during the top of the last market in 2007, the total was almost exactly half, with $37B in capital raised.  So assuming we are going into a downturn, there 2x more capital this time vs 2008.

Here is a list of the 50 largest VC funds that were raised in 2018 , go get that money!

Fund Size ($M) Fund Name
8,000.00 Sequoia Capital Global Growth Fund III
6,300.00 Insight Venture Partners X
3,750.00 Tiger Global Private Investment Partners XI
2,500.00 Petershill Private Equity
1,913.31 Lime Rock Partners IV AF
1,850.00 Bessemer Venture Partners X
1,800.00 Sequoia Capital China Growth Fund V
1,500.00 Norwest Venture Partners XIV
1,375.00 General Catalyst Group IX
1,360.00 GGV Capital VII
1,350.00 NewView Capital Fund I
1,300.00 Providence Strategic Growth III
1,200.00 JMI Equity Fund IX
1,050.00 Lightspeed Venture Partners Select III
1,000.00 Thrive Capital Partners VI
1,000.00 Index Ventures Growth V
800.00 Battery Ventures XII
750.00 Lightspeed Venture Partners XII
700.00 Main Post Growth Capital II
670.00 Silversmith Capital Partners II
650.00 Index Ventures IX
650.00 Accel-KKR Growth Capital Partners III
650.00 Bain Capital Venture Fund 2019
640.00 8VC Fund II
638.54 Meritech Capital Partners VI
600.00 Lime Rock Partners VIII
600.00 Charles River Partnership XVII
550.00 Sequoia Capital China Venture Fund VII
535.00 Level Equity Growth Partners IV
520.00 Lead Edge Capital IV
500.00 Bertram Growth Capital III
460.00 GGV Discovery Fund II
450.00 Battery Ventures XII Side Fund
450.00 Ampersand 2018
450.00 Matrix Partners XI
435.00 Emergence Capital Partners V
420.00 Ribbit Capital V
400.00 Investcorp Technology Partners IV
400.00 Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners III
400.00 Redpoint Ventures VII
400.00 Scale Venture Partners VI
392.00 Sprout Endurance Partners
362.24 Cordillera Investment Fund II
360.00 B Capital Fund
360.00 Forerunner Partners IV
350.00 Capricorn Healthcare & Special Opportunities II
350.00 G2VP I
350.00 Trinity Hunt Partners V
350.00 True Ventures VI
350.00 Alliance Consumer Growth Fund IV

 

Does being Founder lead to being the best VC?

I don’t believe that being a Founder of tech startup gives you a better chance of being the best VC.  I have never seen any data that confirms this, if you have it, please share that in the comments section.  On the contrary, if you look at some of the best VCs of all time, they were NOT Founders of tech startups.  The great thing about this industry is that regardless of your background, you can be a great VC Identifying who is going to be the best VC, when a VC is just starting, is extremely difficult, which is why the job of being a LP is so challenging.

Here is the tweet thread that got me thinking about this topic:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do recognize that specific words are critically important for this debate.  Entrepreneur vs Founder is a material difference.  The original premise and original tweet was about “Founder” not Entrepreneur .  That being said, most of folks on the list provided below were neither an entrepreneur or founder, a few did work for tech startups though but that is different debate.

Here is a list of folks who meet all of the following parameters:

  1. They were not tech Founders before they started leading venture rounds
  2. They started leading venture rounds (Seed/A/B) post 2005
  3. They have substantial realized gains (not looking at TVPI), meaning they distributed meaningful money to their LPs (DPI)

If you know VCs that meet ALL of these parameters, please let me know in the comment section and will add them.  In no particular order:

Rebecca Lynn – Canvas

http://www.canvas.vc/team-member/rebecca-lynn/

 

Ian Sigalow – Greycroft

https://www.greycroft.com/people/ian-sigalow/

 

Kirsten Green – Forerunner

https://forerunnerventures.com/team/kirsten-green/

 

Chetan Puttagunta – Benchmark

https://www.linkedin.com/in/chetanputtagunta/

 

Shana Fisher – Third Kind

https://www.crunchbase.com/person/shana-fisher#section-overview

 

Mamoon Hamid – Kleiner Perkins

https://www.kleinerperkins.com/people/mamoon-hamid

 

Tony Florence – NEA

https://www.linkedin.com/in/toflorence/

 

Mike Volpi – Index

https://www.indexventures.com/team/mike-volpi

 

Roger Ehrenberg – IA Ventures

https://www.crunchbase.com/person/roger-ehrenberg

 

Matt Cohler – Benchmark

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattcohler/

 

Aydn Senkut – Felicis Ventures

https://www.felicis.com/team/aydin/

 

Hans Tung – GGV Capital

https://www.ggvc.com/team/hans-tung

 

Active Early Stage Investors in NY based companies (Jan ’17 to Aug ’18)

In preparation for an event that we run on a regular basis, called Fundraising Workshop, wanted to provide an update on some of the most active early stage VCs (Venture Capital) who are investing in NY based startups.

A few items before providing you the information.

  • The data was pulled via CB Insights
  • The investors do not need to be based in NY but have to be investing in NY based companies
  • The date range was Jan 1 2017 to August 13 2018
  • It only includes venture capital firms and excludes accelerators, angels, corporates, etc.
  • CB Insights doesn’t provide data on who is leading the rounds, so the assumption with these firms listed, is that they participated in the round and not necessarily lead, a critical distinction when fundraising.  If you are fundraising, you need to do more homework to figure out is actually leading rounds.

The data is below.

Most active VCs who participate in sub $2M rounds, see below.  Many of the seed and pre-seed rounds are sub $2M in size, so if you are looking for firms who are active at this size, this is a good target.  Now, the data around pre-seed and seed is challenging since many of these rounds are not announced , which makes it is difficult for CB Insights to capture.  So this list is not comprehensive but I think it provides a lot of signal on the right firms to reach out to.

sub $2M rounds

Most active Seed VCs, see below.  In this query and unlike above, I didn’t put parameters on the size of the seed round.

Seed

Most active Series A VCs, see below.  Again, no parameters on the size of the round.  As I mentioned in beginning of the post, I am unable to query who is “leading” these particular round.  So some of these firms could be leading and other could be participating in them.

Series A

LPs and Diversity

A lot has already been said and written about what is happening in our tech community with regards to how Women Founders are being sexually harassed and/or assaulted.  Recently, several Men have lost their jobs (careers?) for their behavior and I suspect others will too.

In addition to vocalizing how this is an issue, what actions can we take to improve things? While Women are at the center of the recent discussions, I do want to expand the conversation and include minorities in our community, as they are being impacted due to racism.

One of the most important areas we need to work on is diversifying the GPs (General Partners) of early stage VC funds.   The reason I say early stage funds, is that they are usually the first to financially support a startup, at a time when the company has very little data/revenue, so the VC is making a big bet on the Founders(s).  As you can see below, 92% of senior investment professional (GPs) are Men.  78% of GPs are White. The image below was via an article written by Kim-Mai Cutler in 2015.

screen-shot-2015-10-05-at-11-38-20-pm

The fact that there is a lack of diversity in the senior GP ranks, isn’t news but it is worth to highlight this again, especially for LPs (Limited Partners) who are reading this post (hopefully they are).  White males are not more capable of running firms than other gender(s) or ethnicity.   I believe that LPs have the most power in changing the make up of how VC firms look.   We need LPs to think about diversity when they invest their capital in VC funds, so how can we help?

Specifically, we need to mentor new and diverse VC funds (aka Emerging Managers).   We need to help leverage our LP rolodex to get these firms access to capital.  We need to help provide high quality Founder referrals.  We need to get these professionals engaged in industry events/dinners that we organize.  We need to ask these firms, “how we can help”, as every firm has different needs.  I don’t want to assume that everyone is looking for help or needs help but it doesn’t hurt to ask them if they need help.

If you are a VC, are you willing to share some of your LP connections?  Are you willing to invite these firms into your syndicate?  Are you willing to invite them to your dinners and/or speaking events?

Given that I’m based in NYC, I want to take this time to highlight diverse emerging managers based here.   If you are LP and haven’t already spoken to these firms, it it worth exploring why that is and finding time to connect with them (assuming they want new LPs now or in the future).

  • 645 Ventures
  • AlphaPrime Ventures
  • BBG Ventures
  • Female Founders Fund
  • Flatiron Investors
  • Future/Perfect Ventures
  • Human Ventures
  • Lattice Ventures
  • New Age Ventures
  • Primary Ventures Partners
  • Rucker Park
  • Social Impact Capital
  • SoGal Ventures
  • Startup52
  • Techstars IoT
  • Third Kind Venture Capital
  • Trail Mix Ventures
  • WME Ventures
  • Work-Bench
  • XFactor Ventures

Please let me know if I missed any firm(s).  This list is comprised of firms who meet all of the following criteria:

  • HQ’d in NYC
  • raising Fund I/II and/or currently investing out of Fund I/II
  • General Partnership is comprised of at least one woman and/or minority.  This person has to have substantial carry (which to me, means they are one of the leaders of the firm)
  • Early stage investment focus (Seed/Series A)

The point of the post is not to throw LPs under the bus, but it is fair to say they could be doing more to change the diversity of VC firms.  That being said, every stake holder in this community (including me) has a role that they can play in making changes that improve the makeup of VCs (and Founders).  It is worth taking time to think through how you personally can be helpful, I’m still thinking through it and welcome any feedback/thoughts.

My commitment is to help the above mentioned firms.  I have helped a few of them already but need to do more.

 

 

VCs who back the best* startups in NYC

Recently went through the exercise of creating a list of the best* startups in NYC.  The companies ranged from seed funded startups to Pre-IPO companies (so, all are still private).  The process was partially data driven, partially based on word on street and partially based on my interactions with the founders of those companies.  It was really more subjective than anything else.  Ended up coming up with a list of ~60 startups.

Decided not to share the list, as it was really more of exercise to see if it was possible to narrow the list down to manageable number.   The good news is that there are so many exciting companies in NYC, that is was a very tough process to get it down to 60 startups.

One insight I thought would be interesting to share, is which VCs most frequently show up as backing these best* companies:

  • Box Group – 7 investments
  • First Round Capital – 7
  • Lerer Hippeau Ventures – 6
  • Thrive Capital – 6
  • Google Ventures – 5
  • Founder Collective – 5
  • Index Ventures – 5
  • Accel Partners – 4
  • Iconic Capital – 4
  • Union Square Ventures – 4
  • Wellington Management – 4
  • Institutional Venture Partners – 4
  • RRE Ventures – 4
  • New Enterprise Associates – 4
  • Battery Ventures – 4

There were many other VCs that showed up, but the list above reflects the firms that are most active in backing the best* startups.

Now, I think the early stage VCs deserve more credit than the later stage VCs, as the late stage folks have data/revenue to hang their hat on.  So, just take that into account when reviewing the list.

PS If you put together a list of your top 60 NYC startups, happy to meet up in person and debate the list over coffee.

*this list wasn’t produced by any scientific means, was mostly subjective and we will likely disagree on the outcome.  Please send the hate mail to Santa Claus, PO Box North Pole 🙂

 

 

 

NYC sub-sector trends in 2016

Many people ask what is happening in the NYC startup scene and they still assume it is mostly adtech, commerce and content.  That might have been true in the past, but it’s not what is happening now, at least based on anecdotes and what I’m seeing.  Decided to do use some data to determine if this accurate.  Used Pitchbook to this query:

  • Seed and Series A rounds
  • rounds done in 2016
  • NY HQ’d companies

 

Below is the dollars & percentage breakdown of sub-sector activity.

The surprising trend will likely be that SaaS is leading all the sub-sectors.  Second, the trend in healthcare, big data, AI/ML will be an eye-opener.   Overall, NYC is really balanced in terms of sub-sectors and isn’t overly dependent on one to drive future returns.

I would like to see more VR/AR related startups, given how much content companies and studios are based here.

What are you thoughts on this?  What are we going to see more of in 2017?

Industry Vertical Capital Invested (in M) Percentage
SaaS $313.77 17.7%
E-Commerce $286.55 16.1%
Mobile $272.14 15.3%
FinTech $250.60 14.1%
HealthTech $135.28 7.6%
Big Data $100.43 5.7%
Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning $72.75 4.1%
Marketing Tech $51.14 2.9%
Internet of Things $43.84 2.5%
Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability $36.84 2.1%
AdTech $33.19 1.9%
Manufacturing $30.75 1.7%
EdTech $22.08 1.2%
Cybersecurity $21.60 1.2%
Life Sciences $21.20 1.2%
Wearables & Quantified Self $20.75 1.2%
Virtual Reality $17.41 1.0%
Robotics and Drones $14.92 0.8%
3D Printing $10.05 0.6%
AudioTech $9.75 0.5%
Nano-technology $6.70 0.4%
CleanTech $3.00 0.2%
$1,774.74 100.0%