The Most Active Investors Were Extra Busy In Q1

Every day, a lot of startup funding news hits our inboxes at Crunchbase News. And for the past few months, it seemed like a handful of venture investors were cropping up almost daily in at least one of those financings.

As we tally up the most active investors for the just-ended quarter, turns out that fleeting impression was rather accurate. Several of the most active and deep-pocketed venture investors — including Andreessen Horowitz, Tiger Global Management and Insight Partners — each made dozens of investments in Q1.

The three firms were the most active North American investors over the course of the quarter, backing 129 rounds altogether. But they weren’t the only ones keeping extra busy. We lay out a fuller list of the 21 most active investors in the region below:

The pace of dealmaking among these ultra-prolific investors appears to be accelerating. In our Q4 report, a list of the 17 most active North American investors showed they collectively backed 307 rounds. The top 17 in Q1 had 373 rounds between them — a roughly 21 percent gain, quarter over quarter.

The rise in activity by the most active investors coincides with a jump in startup funding. The first quarter set a record for North American startup funding, per Crunchbase data, with $72.7 billion invested across stages.

Most active globally

Global venture funding also hit record levels in the first quarter of 2021, with $125 billion invested across all stages.

A handful of venture firms were particularly busy taking part in all that dealflow. We list the 23 most active global venture investors below:

The same three firms — Andreessen, Tiger and Insight — top both our North American and global lists. However, if we count Sequoia Capital, Sequoia Capital India and Sequoia Capital China together, they would be on top globally, with 70 rounds altogether in Q1, per Crunchbase data.

A few standout trends

A few trends stood out when looking at the most active investor list.

One is that Tiger Global has been making an extraordinary number of first-time investments for a cross-stage investor. Nearly three-fourths of its deals in Q1 were its first investments in those companies.

We might expect a large majority of new portfolio investments rounds for firms such as T. Rowe Price and Fidelity that are known for very late-stage and pre-IPO deals. Tiger does tend to go later stage, but it has a fair amount of early stage in the mix. The increase in new investments indicates the firm is on the hunt for fresh names to add to its already vast portfolio.

Another takeaway is that Insight Partners is really investing a lot of money. The firm doubled its North American deal count in Q1 compared to the previous quarter. And it’s taking big stakes, too. Insight was a lead investor in 40 of the global rounds it backed in Q1, per Crunchbase data.

Lastly, the famous saying by Andreessen Horowitz (A16Z)  founder Marc Andreessen that “software is eating the world” deserves a refresh. When it comes to U.S. startup funding, apparently A16Z is eating the world. Not only was the firm doing a lot of deals in Q1, it also backed some of the buzziest names in the unicorn crowd, including Clubhouse, Instacart and Robinhood.

Gené Teare assisted in this report.

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