This is a monthly feature that runs down 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. Check out last month’s feature here.
Just like April, May saw only a half dozen firms invest in 10 or more deals announced in the month—down from May 2021 when 10 firms took part in double-digit numbers of rounds, according to Crunchbase data.
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However, as has been well documented, the current environment is much different from 2021 when it comes to both the private and public markets.
Let’s take a closer look at the most active investors in U.S.-based startups in May and some interesting rounds they took part in.
Andreessen Horowitz, 20 deals
For the first month this year, Andreessen Horowitz led the way in total rounds with 20—half in previous investments and half in new companies.
While a specific round usually catches our interest, sometimes it’s more of a theme that runs through the month for a certain investor that grabs our attention. In Andreessen Horowitz’s case, it was a sharp interest in all things Web3 and gaming.
It’s no secret the Menlo Park giant loves blockchain and crypto, but the firm did seem to double down on that interest last month. Its investments included:
- Leading a $15 million Series A for Sacramento, California-based Azra Games, a blockchain-based developer of collectable combat role-playing games.
- A $24 million Series A it led for San Francisco-based Metatheory, which focuses on building Web3 games and virtual worlds.
- Leading a $6.5 million seed round into San Francisco-based StartPlaying, a gameplay community platform that allows players to find tabletop role-playing games and game masters.
- The $40 million Series A it led for Wyoming-based Irreverent Labs, which is developing artificially intelligent games with blockchain technology.
- Taking part in a $12 million seed round for San Francisco-based Web3 videogame platform LootRush.
That’s a lot of bets on Web3 and gaming on the next iteration of the internet. But a16z is not known to tread lightly in areas in which it believes.
Tiger Global, 16 deals
The hedge fund giant may be known for leading huge nine-figure rounds and minting unicorns, but this month we are going to look at a much smaller round that went to a company tackling a big issue.
Tiger led a $20 million Series A for New York-based telehealth startup Parallel Learning. The company works with families and schools to diagnose, treat and empower students with learning and thinking differences. According to the company, approximately one in five people struggle with learning or thinking differences. Care and diagnosis can be expensive and confusing.
Parallel looks to streamline and simplify that process. It expects to use the new cash to expand nationally and add behavioral and speech therapies.
Accel, 11 deals
While the insurtech industry has seen a lot of investment in recent years, Sotera—which is still under the radar—is a little different. The company is not looking to insure your car or home. Rather it uses what it calls “deep tech” and data to create risk ratings for “unusual objects.” Think high-end art and antiques.
The company completed the accelerator program at Lloyd’s and plans to use its platform to also record at-risk collections to help stop looting and the illegal trafficking of antiquities and art.
Gaingels, 11 deals
New York-based Gaingels—which invests in companies with diverse and inclusive leadership teams—has been near the top of this list every month this year. However, its number of U.S.-based investments have declined every month to land it a little lower in the rankings.
However, that does not mean it doesn’t have rounds of note. In April, the firm was part of a $7 million fundraise for San Francisco-based “crispy” plant-based chicken nuggets maker Nowadays. Last month, the firm continued its inquisitive food ways as part of an oversubscribed $2 million investment in Chicago-based company Hyfé Foods.
The sustainable food company develops low-carb, protein-rich “fungi flour.” The company uses fermentation to upcycle wasted sugar water from food and beverage manufacturing. This creates its mycelium flour. The process reduces water waste and contributes a sustainable form of protein.
Y Combinator, 11 deals
It’s no secret the venture capital market is experiencing a little dip right now as funding falls with valuations.
One option some startups may look into is venture debt—especially those that have raised some venture capital—and Y Combinator may have just the company to help.
Norwalk, Connecticut-based 8vdX, a digital venture debt provider for investors and startups, closed a $3 million seed round which included funding from the startup accelerator giant.
The company has created an online venture debt marketplace, with startups filling out applications for debt right on its platform. The startup can expedite the entire applying process to just a day or two.
In a down market, startups may look for just such a thing.
Insight Partners, 10 deals
Logistics and supply chain tech has been popular with investors, and Insight Partners has not let the party pass it by. The firm co-led a $150 million Series E with Kleiner Perkins for San Francisco-based logistics startup Motive. The round values the automated operations platform developer at $2.85 million.
Motive, formerly KeepTruckin, offers an AI-powered platform that helps improve driver safety and track fleet spending. The platform also offers other logistics and management tools.
Venture-backed freight and logistics companies continue to see heavy investor interest after a record-setting 2021, according to Crunchbase data. Last year, investors poured more than $21.5 billion into freight and logistic startups—more than doubling the $9.8 billion 2020 realized.
- Next in line to make the list were Khosla Ventures, with eight deals announced, followed by three firms with seven announced rounds each: Bessemer Venture Partners, Global Founders Capital and Kleiner Perkins.
- As noted earlier, Andreessen Horowitz and Tiger finished first in rounds led or co-led in May with nine each. Insight followed with eight led or co-led for the month.
- However, it was Insight which led or co-led rounds worth the most last month—approximately $800 million. Well ahead of Tiger and Andreessen Horowitz, which led or co-led rounds worth approximately $400 million and $200 million, respectively.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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