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Most Active US Investors In October: Deal Numbers Still Low As Y Combinator And Alumni Ventures Lead The Way

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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.

Last year at this time, it was not uncommon for firms to ink 20 or more deals in a month to fund U.S.-based startups.

In October only two firms — Y Combinator and Alumni Ventures — even hit double digits.

That is not shocking since the private market is in a very different place, but nevertheless it is eye-catching.

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Alumni Ventures, for example, made 26 deals in October of last year, according to Crunchbase data. While the firm took the No. 2 spot on our list of most active investors for last month, it only participated in 10.

Andreessen Horowitz is another good case in point. In October 2021, the crypto crazy firm made 21 investments. Last month, it took part in only nine deals.

Lastly, the poster child for the salad days of last year, Tiger Global, participated in 17 deals involving U.S.-based startups in October 2021. The hedge fund giant made only one such investment last month.

Different place and time, indeed.

Y Combinator, 13 deals

The Silicon Valley accelerator giant is not new to this list, as it typically makes several smaller bets on startups monthly.

One of the more interesting deals involved San Francisco-based Shimmer. The startup, which closed a $1.4 million seed round last month, offers one-on-one coaching for people with ADHD. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 6.1 million children in the United States between 2 and 17 have been diagnosed with the disorder, and Shimmer’s program has been designed from science-backed methods in partnership with schools such as NYU, UC Berkeley and UCSF.

With the explosion of telehealth, this seems like a logical move.

Alumni Ventures, 10 deals

Alumni Ventures has slowed its pace from a year ago. However, just breaking into double-digit investments now gets you second place on this list.

Alumni took part in last month’s trend of investing in AI by participating in StoryFit’s $5.5 million Series A. The Austin, Texas-based startup uses artificial intelligence for the entertainment industry — generating insights to direct the development of scripts and books.

According to the company, it uses AI to measure more than 100,000 features, and compares transcripts to other published works.

While this wasn’t the biggest AI round of the month (we’ll get to a bigger one later), it still caught our attention.

Andreessen Horowitz, 9 deals

Andreessen Horowitz seems to never fail to invest in something pretty intriguing.

Last month, the firm led a $40 million round for The Coterie, reportedly valuing the Palo Alto, California-based fintech platform at more than $100 million.

Now investing in a fintech platform would not usually cause us to do a double take, but The Coterie is unique. The company, which has approximately $500 million in assets under management, is geared toward startup founders who need help with estate planning or a loan.

The basic philosophy is traditional banks, which rely on credit scores to lend, don’t really have metrics in place to loan money to startup founders based on the equity they own and a startup’s valuation. This platform — founded by founders for founders — can do that.

The platform also gives users access to venture funds managed by large firms, like Andreessen Horowitz, which can be used as collateral.

Insight Partners, 9 deals

Like most firms, New York-based Insight Partners’ deals are down. In October 2021, the firm completed 15 deals, but only did 60% of that last month.

However, included in that deal total was a big $125 million Series A the firm led to Austin-based AI startup Jasper, which valued the company at $1.5 billion.

Last month was big for AI, with a handful of startups announcing huge deals as the promise of artificial intelligence seems to be coming to fruition. Jasper uses AI to help people and companies with their content strategies. Its AI platform helps create original content while optimizing it for ROI and even repackaging it in different ways and in different languages.

As AI tech has become more advanced and expanded into more flexible use cases, large deals like Jasper’s may become the norm and not a noteworthy exception.

Also notable

  • Bessemer Venture Partners and Soma Capital came in next on the list with eight and seven deals, respectively.
  • Insight Partners led or co-led the most rounds in October with eight. Andreessen Horowitz came in next with five rounds led or co-led.
  • Canadian asset management firm Brookfield Asset Management led or co-led rounds totaling the most dollars for the month thanks to its lead in the $1.7 billion investment in entertainment company Primary Wave.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Correction: An earlier version of this story included another firm for which we were not able to verify all investment data.


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