In an era when investors are exceedingly cautious and strong track records are a sine qua non, LPs could be forgiven for being very sceptical about backing venture funds. In Europe, average performance has been dire for a decade. In the US, some observers worry about a surfeit of capital.
Nonetheless, a few stand-out managers continue to fly the flag for venture in the PEI 300, among their larger buyout cousins. The highest placed is Sequoia Capital (44), which climbed 41 places to make the top 50 for the first time. And no wonder: last year it raised almost $1 billion across three funds for investments in China, Israel and the US.
New Enterprise Associates also rocketed up from 147 to 65 after raising $2.6 billion for its latest vehicle, one of the largest venture funds ever, while Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers also made the top 100 (at 92).
Accel Partners, which came in just outside at 105, is particularly noteworthy in that its London arm just raised an oversubscribed $475 million fund in a mere eight weeks – testament to the increased optimism about European VC’s prospects for the coming years.