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Active Investor Ranks Shift In Q3 As Tiger, SoftBank Scale Back

Quarterly Q3 2022 top investors bus stop

The past few months have brought significant shifts in the ranks for the most active global investors.

SoftBank Vision Fund and Tiger Global—the two firms that used to regularly top our most active and spendiest venture investor rankings—cut back sharply in the third quarter. Both firms face well-publicized woes, with Tiger reeling from declines in its public tech portfolio and SoftBank cutting staff in the face of steep losses.

That leaves Andreessen Horowitz and Insight Partners in first and second place, respectively, for most active global lead venture investor in Q3. While both those firms also cut back dealmaking activity in the quarter, they did so at a less dramatic pace.

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To see how firms and recent quarters compare, below we lay out the ranking for the most active venture and growth lead investors in 2022, comparingfor Q1, Q2 and Q3 of 2022:

Notably, there wasn’t a single firm on the list above that increased its lead deal pace in Q3. That’s not too surprising, given the general investment environment. Global venture funding for the third quarter, which totaled $81 billion, was down 53% year over year and 33% quarter over quarter, according to a Crunchbase News analysis.

Most active participating investors

While some firms are known for leading rounds, other venture investors more frequently take a smaller stake. Below, we tally up the most active venture investors across all rounds, including those they led and those in which they participated.

For an idea of who spent the most money, we tallied up the total dollars invested in each investor’s rounds. (This offers a general idea of how much is spent, but not a specific one, given that rounds with multiple investors rarely specify how much each backer contributed.)

Here, Andreessen Horowitz is once again in the lead, followed by BlackRock and Sequoia Capital. Once again, everyone on the list participated in deals that collectively raised less in Q3 than in Q2.

Seed slows too

Seed investment has shown more modest declines than other stages. But still, funding is down and the most active firms are doing fewer deals.

To get a clearer idea, we look at the most active seed-stage investors for the past three quarters below:

As you can see, the most active seed investor remained Y Combinator, which has topped the ranks for every quarter this year. In second place was Gaingels, a U.S. angel network with a diversity focus. 

No one was scaling up. Rather, every seed investor in our most active list did fewer deals in Q3 than in Q2. 

Is this the bottom?

There’s a case to be made that the current dealmaking slowdown will likely be temporary. As investors held back on consummating rounds, it’s likely less about disinterest in the current crop of startups and more about valuations.

With the slump in public tech and biotech stocks, investors are having to lower valuations for their private portfolios. As a result, startups with the means to do so largely prefer delaying their next financing rather than doing a down round. Moreover, during a period of resetting valuations, it’s harder for investors and startup teams to reach consensus on terms.

Still, there is some broader slowing going on too. For initial seed deals, for instance, down rounds aren’t a concern, and yet we’re still seeing a pullback. 

Nonetheless, the most active check writers are still writing a lot of checks. While they may be scaling back, none of the top startup investors appear to be abandoning the asset class.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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