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Most Active US Investors In January: Y Combinator And Triangle Tweener Fund Lead Slow Month

Illustration of a jar labeled Jan full of money.

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.

Just one month into the year, and 2023 already is looking different from 2022.

Last January, more than a dozen investment firms participated in 10 or more funding deals involving U.S.-based startups. This January, that number dropped to only two investors — Y Combinator and Triangle Tweener Fund — as few big names made a lot of deals in the first month of 2023.

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Andreessen Horowitz made a good amount of deals, but other big players were nowhere to be found — at least in the U.S. Last January, Insight Partners and Tiger Global both announced 15 deals in U.S. startups. However, last month that number dropped to only one each.

Let’s take a closer look at the firms that still remained active in a slow market.

Y Combinator, 17 deals

Even in a down market, founders still have dreams, and that means Y Combinator remains busy.

The accelerator giant made 17 deals into U.S.-based startups last month, including participating in a $3 million seed round for Seattle-based LifeAt.

The company describes itself as a “virtual getaway” at work. It delivers work and productivity tools while giving the users relaxing music and video backgrounds — taking the user wherever else they’d rather be than work, such as a beach or a relaxing rain storm.

Remote work has changed our world forever, and sometimes staring at the same four walls eight hours a day can be hard. A startup that combines work and play may be something many of us need right now.

Triangle Tweener Fund, 10 deals

The Triangle Tweener Fund does not usually make this list, but it did in a slow January. The firm is the only other investor to make at least 10 deals in U.S.-based startups last month.

One of its deals included a seed round for Raleigh, North Carolina-based Nomad Development. Staying with the theme of remote work, the startup allows people to find places to stay as we become less tied to an office and roam more. The company describes itself as providing “accommodation for the modern nomad.”

Three years ago, a startup like this may not have ever been created — but a pandemic changes a lot of things.

Andreessen Horowitz, 9 deals

Last January — before the market slowdown was noticeable — Andreessen Horowitz made 15 deals that involved U.S.-based startups. Last month, that number fell to only nine.

Aside from the drop in deals, the other things that somewhat struck us was Andreessen Horowitz still likes the gaming sector. It led a Series A for an undisclosed amount for Miami-based Voldex, a gaming studio focused on user-generated content. However, it also led a $10 million Series A for metaverse gaming startup Createra and participated in a $27 million Series B for South Africa-based Carry1st.

While not all of those rounds involved U.S.-based startups, it’s interesting to see that Andreessen Horowitz still has a lot of faith in gaming, even during a pullback.

Catalio Capital Management, 6 deals

Baltimore-based Catalio Capital Management also is not a firm that usually makes this list. The venture capital firm invests in biomedical startups, and in January took part in a half-dozen funding rounds including four different Series Bs.

Some of the firm’s highlights include co-leading an $8.3 million venture round for San Francisco-based Spiral Therapeutics, which is developing therapies for hearing loss, and co-leading a huge $100 million round for Emeryville, California-based genetic medicines company Metagenomi. The startup uses metagenomics and machine learning to discover genome editing systems for therapeutics.

Gaingels, 6 deals

In January 2022, Gaingels made 28 deals in U.S.-based startups, but just like most firms that number significantly dropped — ending up at just a half-dozen after everything was said and done.

That doesn’t mean those deals didn’t include interesting startups. One of the firm’s deals included participating in a $3.2 million seed round for Brooklyn-based OneRoof.

OneRoof helps connect people living in the same building, striving to build a useful and supportive neighbor community. Users can buy and sell things — extremely useful when you are living in an apartment with limited room — and get to know their neighbors’ likes, interests and even pets.

In a world that often seems to have lost a sense of community, anything that tries to restore that is worth a mention.

Also notable

  • New York-based Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator came in next with five deals in January, while 10 firms each made four deals last month.
  • Y Combinator and Andreessen Horowitz led or co-led the most rounds in January with four each.
  • Not surprisingly, Microsoft led or co-led rounds totaling the most dollars for the month with their massive $190 billion investment into startup OpenAI.

Related reading:

If you’re curious about how the top monthly investors reports shook out in 2022, we’ve linked them for you here.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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