This is a monthly feature that runs down some of 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. Read last month’s entry here.
The pace of news and investing usually slows at the end of the year, and it certainly seemed to do that in November.
No venture firm made more than eight deals involving U.S.-based startups for the month — the lowest number in some months.
The numbers seem woefully low for firms — Khosla Ventures had been making a good number of deals in the U.S. recently, but only managed four last month.
We’ll see what December brings, but expecting more of the same low totals would be wise.
General Catalyst, 8 deals
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based investor actually made the highest number of deals it had all year involving U.S.-based companies — surpassing the seven it announced in September.
As one would expect from the well-seasoned firm, its investments spanned a variety of categories, including a few deals involving AI companies. That included taking part in a pretty big $60 million seed round for Austin, Texas-based, AI-driven financial services company Black Ore Technologies.
However, to show its diversity, it also took part in a $6 million seed round for Charlotte-based Craftwork, a full-service home painting company that uses software to offer quick estimates, transparent pricing and easy scheduling.
Alumni Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Soma Capital, 7 deals
Seven deals was apparently a popular number in November as Alumni, Lightspeed and Soma all came in tied.
Out of this trio, Alumni has been the most active when it comes to investing in the U.S., as it is quickly closing in on more than 100 deals this year with domestic startups — led by a strong January where it invested in 22 deals. Both Lightspeed and Soma still have fewer than 50 such deals for the year.
However, even Alumni has slowed down of late. The firm made 78 deals involving U.S.-based startups between September of last year and January of this one, but has made only 37 such deals in the past five months.
While all these firms made interesting deals in November, Lightspeed led a round that caught our eye since AI is on everyone’s mind. Palo Alto, California-based video and editing AI platform Pika raised a $35 million Series A. The round comes just six months after the company emerged from stealth. Pika offers a lot of interesting new tools for video and editing, including being able to extend existing videos or change the style of a video — such as making it into animation.
Craft Ventures, 6 deals
San Francisco-based Craft Ventures does not make this list often (in fact, it may have never), but it has been pretty active of late. The firm made only nine deals with U.S. startups from January through July, but in the past four months has announced 19.
The firm focuses on building and scaling SaaS businesses, and it did not stray from that strategy last month when it led a $6.6 million seed round for San Francisco-based inbound lead platform Default and a $20 million venture round for San Francisco-based collaborative coding startup Replit.
- Menlo Ventures and Insight Partners came in next on the list with five deals apiece.
- Menlo Ventures also topped all firms in rounds led or co-led with three deals.
- AE Industrial Partners and Mitsui & Co. Ltd topped the list for rounds led or co-led with the highest dollar amounts for the month thanks to just one deal. The duo co-led Firefly Aerospace’s $300 million Series C.
- The top investing incubators and accelerators in November were Techstars with a dozen deals and Y Combinator with nine deals.
This is a list of investors which took part in the most rounds involving U.S.-based startups. It does not include incubators or accelerators due to the fluctuations their investment numbers can have.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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