VC firms pick their top peers: Sequoia again tops the list

Steven Loeb · April 7, 2016 · Short URL:

We compared the list to CB Insights rankings of the top 100 VCs, and see if they matched up

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Last month, CB Insights got together with the New York Times to identify the the 100 best venture capitalists, basing their rankings on such factors as size of exits, connections to other VCs, and consistency of investments. Ultimately a few of the firms wound up with a sizable number of their partners making the list.

Now CB Insights has compiled another really interesting list: it's taken a survey of the venture capitalists themselves and asked them who they think the top VC firms are

In all, 70 VC firms were asked to rank the top 20 firms that, if they were an LP,  they would you invest in. Let's see how the two lists stack up against each other, and if the VCs agree with CB Insight's own rankings.

Right off the bat, the two lists have the exact same firm at the top: Sequoia Capital. The firm was not only ranked as the best firm by other venture capitalists, but seven of its VCs made the top 100 list, including two in the top 10: James Goetz, Nanpeng (Neil) Shen, Michael Moritz, Roelof Botha, Douglas Leone, Alfred Lin and Michael Goguen.

So congratulations Sequoia, everyone thinks you're the best. 

Number two on the peer list was Benchmark, which was tied for fourth place on the other list, with four of its VCs represented. Meanwhile, Accel, which other VCs ranked at the third best firm, actually was a close number two on the other list, with six of its partners making the top 100. 

Obviously there numbers are still close, but it is interesting to see that other VCs have a slightly higher ranking of one firm, and a slightly lower ranking of another.

Here's an interesting outlier: the number four best VC firm, according to other VCs, is Greylock. On the list of top 100 VCs, it only merited two places, one for David Sze, the other for Asheem Chandna. It was a similar case with the number five firm, which also only had its two founders make the top 100. 

Obviously, both of these cases, the insiders and the outsiders have pretty different views of the firm's merit. 

That was even more apparent with Union Square Ventures, which venture capitalists think is the sixth best firm, but which only had one of its VCs make the top 100. Of course, that one VC was Fred Wilson and he was named number two, but still.

There was also disparity between the rankings for Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Bessemer Venture Partners. While KPCB was the third highest on the top 100, with five venture capitalists making the list, but on the peer list came in at number 9, below First Round, which only had two of its VC make the other list, and Bessemer, which had four. 

Ultimately, I think, both of these lists are kind of meaningless. They don't tell a complete picture, and just because a firm was ranked at the top doesn't mean it's going to be the right fit for everyone; maybe that number 10 firm works better for your company.

They do, however, highlight an interesting disparity, at least in some cases, between how they are perceived by those outside of the VC world, and those within it. Personally, I'd be more inclined to go with the opinions of those who know, and work with, these other firms.

By the way, in case you were wondering, CB Insights didn't allow any of the firms it surveyed to vote for themselves, though they apparently tried. 

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Sequoia Capital

Angel group/VC

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Sequoia Capital is a venture capital firm founded by Don Valentine in 1972. The Wall Street Journal has called Sequoia Capital “one of the highest-caliber venture firms” and noted that it is “one of Silicon Valley’s most influential venture-capital firms”. It invests between $100,000 and $1 million in seed stage, between $1 million and $10 million in early stage, and between $10 million and $100 million in growth stage.


CB Insights


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