You don’t get to be one of the oldest venture firms without adjusting to change.
While Bessemer Venture Partners has already had a busy year with changing its investment status and getting more into crypto, it also seems to have pulled back in the size of rounds it participates in as the venture market has cooled after a record 2021.
Bessemer, which is more than 100 years old, took part in 133 rounds totaling more than $11 billion last year, according to Crunchbase data, when the venture market was as hot as it has ever been.
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However, so far this year Bessemer has looked at smaller deals, participating in rounds worth a total of just more than $3 billion.
Nevertheless, the 14 largest rounds the firm participated in since the start of 2021 all occurred in 2021—including New York-based Bitcoin company NYDIG’s $1 billion raise last December.
The three largest rounds Bessemer has participated thus far in 2022 are:
- New York-based cybersecurity firm Axonius’ $200 million Series E in March.
- China-based Sensors Data’s $200 million Series D in May.
- Denver-based learning platform Guild Education’s $175 million Series F in June.
Despite the drop in round value, the firm has stayed on a consistent investment cadence with 64 deals announced through the first half of the year—similar to its pace last year.
It also is difficult to tell if the amount Bessemer is investing has changed as specific stakes in a round are not usually divulged.
The drop in round size also is not shocking, as funding rounds have shrunk alongside startup valuation.
Even as Bessemer has participated in smaller rounds, it has still been a noteworthy year for the firm.
The move allows firms to allocate more than 20% of their capital to investments apart from just direct stakes in private companies—something VC firms are typically not allowed to do.
Those other investments can include public stock, cryptocurrency and secondary shares.
The move has become more common, as Bessemer follows in the footsteps of General Catalyst, Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital in making a similar status change as VC firms must now compete with hedge fund giants such as Tiger Global.
In March, it also was reported Bessemer had earmarked $250 million of its new $2.5 billion fund for deals in crypto. The firm created BessemerDAO, a group to discuss trends and pool resources to invest in crypto, likely signaling more investment in the digital asset market.
Bessemer did not respond to a request for comment.
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Illustration: Dom Guzman
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