Startups Venture

A16z Leads Most-Active Q1 Venture Investors

Illustration of founder dropping a rocket coin into piggy bank

More than two years after global startup funding hit its all-time high, active investors have yet to get their groove back.

The venture firms that once ranked as the most active dealmakers have since cut back sharply, Crunchbase data shows. Almost across the board, they’re backing fewer rounds, particularly very large late-stage deals. In this camp is Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), which is making a run for the title of most-active venture investor of the post-peak era.

Per Crunchbase data, a16z participated in 27 post-seed rounds in the first quarter of 2024 — more than any other venture investor.

Runners-up for most active include Y Combinator, which backed 18 known post-seed deals (in addition to many more seed rounds) and General Catalyst, with 15 rounds.

For a bigger picture view, below we charted out the nine most-active post-seed investors 1 for Q1, comparing their deal counts to year-ago levels.

Notably, the list favors U.S.-headquartered investors. While many of their investments are outside the country, U.S.-based startups still account for the majority of deals.

Andreessen, Lightspeed tie for most-active lead investors

In addition to looking at the most-active post-seed investors, we also ranked the busiest lead venture investors.

To make the cut, firms had to participate as lead or co-lead investor in multiple post-seed rounds. By this metric, Andreessen Horowitz tied to top the list alongside fellow Silicon Valley venture heavyweight Lightspeed. Both led or co-led 11 rounds in Q1 of 2024.

For a broader perspective, below we ranked the nine most-active lead investors of the quarter, comparing their activity to year-ago levels.

Once again, U.S.-headquartered venture firms dominate the list, including the top 15. A partial exception is Index Ventures, which has dual headquarters in San Francisco and London.

Regardless of headquarters, the most active lead investors tend to have portfolio companies in several countries. Even Andreessen Horowitz, primarily a U.S. investor, has been venturing abroad, with five Q1 rounds, including two lead investments, in startups headquartered abroad.

Spendiest lead investors

But while they’re still venturing widely to find deals, our most-active investors are financing, on average, smaller sums than was the case several years ago. Back in the peak quarter of Q4 2021, we saw more than 100 venture and growth rounds of $300 million or more globally. For the just-ended quarter, there were 20 such deals.

Still, one reason we single out active lead investors is to get a sense of who is consistently writing big checks for venture rounds. It’s not a definitive measure, given that rounds with multiple investors seldom break out their individual contributions. However, usually one can assume that a lead investor financed a significant chunk of a particular round.

Below, we rank the 15 investors who led or co-led rounds with the highest dollar value in Q1.

Most-active seed investors

Among seed investors, familiar names topped the charts in Q1. Y Combinator led the largest number of rounds, followed by Techstars and Antler.

To see the full tally, we listed the 10 most-active seed investors for Q1, comparing their recent activity to year-ago levels.

Because it’s common for seed accelerators to announce a big batch of funding recipients at one time, we see the totals fluctuate quite a bit quarter to quarter.

However, the active investor tally overall points to a seed funding environment that is still robust, albeit below its former heights.

Globally, seed companies raised just over $7 billion in Q1, per Crunchbase data, down by more than $1 billion year over year. Reported seed funding was also down a bit from the prior quarter. (However, the Q1 total is expected to rise over time as more seed fundings are added retrospectively to the Crunchbase dataset.)

Who’s active and who’s missing

Overall, the list of most-active and highest-spending investors is significant for who’s there as well as who’s missing.

As we’ve pointed out in previous quarters, Tiger Global Management and SoftBank Vision Fund — two investors that led in backing late-stage rounds during the market peak — have curtailed their activity dramatically. Of late, we also haven’t seen a lot of new names added to the list of most-active investors.

Meanwhile, others that were active during the boom — including Andreessen, Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed and Insight Partners, continue to top the list. We’re curious to see if the rankings change up more in coming quarters.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

  1. Bpifrance, which is known for debt financing but also makes equity investments, also ranked among our most-active investors for Q1, participating in 20 known rounds. However, several of those investments were in rounds that included both debt and equity. In some cases, it was not clear whether Bpifrance was financing the debt portion only, the equity portion, or both.

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