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.
Although six venture firms had deal totals that hit double digits in April, that number is down from a dozen just two months ago.
The usual suspects lead the way, with Gaingels, Tiger Global and Insight Partners again sealing the most deals in U.S.-based startups last month, according to Crunchbase data.
While those firms’ numbers have been steady this year, some appear to be slowing investing. In March, six firms completed more than a dozen deals, opposed to only three last month. In April 2021, by contrast, 15 different firms each signed 10 or more deals.
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Even with some firms slowing their dealmaking pace, let’s look at the most active investors in U.S.-based startups last month and some interesting rounds they took part in.
Gaingels, 16 deals
New York-based Gaingels continued its torrid investing pace this year. The firm—which invests in companies with diverse and inclusive leadership teams—has led all other firms in deals every month this year and tied with Tiger for April.
While Gaingels continued to spread its money around to everything from gaming to robotics, chicken nuggets caught our attention. San Francisco-based Nowadays raised a $7 million seed round, which included money from Gaingels. Nowadays creates “crispy” plant-based chicken nuggets with only seven ingredients—which are way fewer ingredients and just as much actual chicken as we imagine most fast-food restaurants use.
Anyhow, the cultivated meat space has been on a tear, and Nowadays’ nuggets can be added to that menu.
Tiger Global, 16 deals
Similar to Gaingels, Tiger is always prowling at the top of this list every month. The hedge fund giant did a lot of deals again this month, and that included some big ones such as the one for San Francisco-based Near Protocol.
Tiger led Near Protocol’s $350 million round, just three months after the company closed a $150 million token offering. The Web3 company is creating a developer-friendly platform for decentralized applications using a proof-of-stake blockchain which can be cheaper to use than others like Ethereum.
Near appeared in the news over the weekend as an attack on its “Rainbow Bridge”—a cross chain bridge—was thwarted.
Insight Partners, 14 deals
Insight often invests in software and SaaS companies, and normally leads those rounds. However it was a deal it did not lead and was not in the software space that piqued our interest.
The firm took part in Copper’s $29 million Series A round. The Seattle-based company is an all-digital bank built specifically for teenagers. The platform has more than 800,000 users and later this year will allow those users to move money from their accounts directly into a range of investments including individual stocks, mutual funds and cryptocurrency.
While it could be argued lessening barriers for teenagers to invest in something like crypto may not be a good thing, it also could be the ultimate financial teaching tool.
Andreessen Horowitz, 11 deals
Andreessen Horowitz leads a lot of big rounds, but we are focusing on a small one that looks to solve a problem we’ve all dealt with.
The firm led a $12 million Series A into San Francisco-based startup Bounce—a luggage storage platform. The company had just raised a $2 million seed round in December led by General Catalyst, but already is eyeing further expansion into Europe.
Bounce allows travelers to book luggage storage at more than 7,000 locations in over 1,000 different cities for less than $6 a day. No more having to carry bulky luggage around town or stopping by a friend’s place to drop it off for a few hours.
Founders Fund, 11
Speaking of kids learning, one of Founders Fund’s more interesting deals this month was in a similar space.
The firm co-led a $15 million Series A in San Francisco-based Primer. The 7-year-old San Francisco-based company offers a series of clubs for kids to explore areas that interest them. That can include anything from coding for video games to learning chess to writing and sharing essays. Its aim is to foster the learning desires of kids, no matter the subject.
However, with the new funding, the startup is moving beyond online learning. It announced it also will be opening microschools—full-day, in-person schools—in August starting in Miami.
Sequoia Capital, 10 deals
Although the round already has received plenty of attention, Sequoia Capital’s co-leading—along with Vy Capital—of The Boring Company’s $675 million Series C is definitely the most eye-catching round the firm closed in April.
The Elon Musk-founded company landed a huge $6 billion valuation in the deal. The Boring Company is responsible for the Vegas Loop—an electric high-speed public transportation system—and the Prufrock, a large piece of construction equipment that mines underground.
The company has now raised more than $900 million, according to Crunchbase.
- Following those above, Y Combinator, SoftBank Vision Fund and 8VC 1 each came in next with nine deals completed in April.
- Tiger finished first in rounds led or co-led in April with a baker’s dozen, and Insight followed with 10 led or co-led for the month.
- However, neither Tiger nor Insight led or co-led rounds worth the most last month. That title belongs to the SoftBank Vision Fund, which led or co-led six rounds worth a total of just under $1 billion—including the $300 million Series C for human resources platform Remote.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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