Top 15 venture capital firms in San Francisco

Venture capital firms in San Francisco

San Francisco is without a doubt the world’s best startup ecosystem; every year thousands of startup founders move to the city with the goal of starting the next unicorn despite the sky-high cost of doing business and the emergence of pandemic-related remote work. There are more than 40000 startups and 1000 venture capital firms in San Francisco, as well as many iconic tech companies like Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, eBay…

Here are the 15 best venture capital firms in San Francisco, that are fueling the city’s growth and helping it maintain its position as the world’s premier hub for innovation and startups:

a16z:

Founded in 2009, Andreessen Horowitz, is a venture capital firm that backs bold entrepreneurs building the future through technology. They are stage agnostic: they invest in seed to late-stage technology companies, across the consumer, enterprise, bio/healthcare, crypto, and fintech spaces. a16z has $19.2B in assets under management across multiple funds, such as the $1.4B Bio funds, the $3.1B Crypto funds, and the Cultural Leadership Fund.

Notable Investments: Facebook, lyft, Pinterest, Airbnb, Slack, Coinbase, Instagram, box…

Y combinator:

Y Combinator is a startup accelerator that invests in a large number of startups twice a year. It created a new model for funding early-stage startups. Twice a year, the company invests a small amount of money ($150k) in a large number of startups. The startup accelerator works intensively with the companies in order to get them into the best possible shape. Each cycle culminates in Demo Day when the startups present their companies to a carefully selected, invite-only audience.

Notable Investments: Stripe, Airbnb, Coinbase, Instacart, Dropbox, Twitch, Reddit…

500 global:

500 Global is a venture capital firm that invests early in founders building fast-growing technology companies. They focus on markets where technology, innovation, and capital can unlock long-term value and drive economic growth. 500 Global has backed over 6000 founders representing more than 2500 companies operating in 77 countries. Their portfolio includes 33 companies valued at over $1 billion and 120 companies valued at over $100 million. 

Notable Investments: Twilio, SendGrid, Canva, Udemy, TalkDesk, Intercom, Grab, GitLab…

Sequoia Capital:

Sequoia is a venture capital firm focused on energy, financial, enterprise, healthcare, in addition to internet and mobile startups. The firm helps daring founders build legendary companies from idea to IPO and beyond. Its spurs them to push the boundaries of what’s possible. Founded in 1972 by Don Valentine, it has worked with founders like Jobs, Ellison, Page,Koum, Houston, Tatarko, Hartz and Dorsey… In aggregate, Sequoia-backed companies account for more than 25% of NASDAQ’s total value. The vast majority of money they invest is on behalf of non-profits and schools like the Ford Foundation, Mayo Clinic and MIT which means founders’ accomplishments make a meaningful difference.

Notable Investments: Oracle, EA, NVIDIA, Cisco, Google, Apple, Zoom, Square, WhatsApp…

Accel Partners:

Accel is an early and growth-stage venture capital firm that powers a global community of entrepreneurs who have what it takes to build a world-class, category-defining business.

The company brings more than three decades of experience in building and supporting companies. Accel’s vision for entrepreneurship and business enables it to identify and invest in the companies that will be responsible for the growth of next-generation industries.

Notable Investments: Atlassian, Dropbox, Flipkart, Slack, Spotify, Facebook, Etsy…

Kleiner Perkins:

Kleiner Perkins is an American venture capital firm specializing in investing in early-stage, growth, and incubation companies. Founded in 1972, the firm continues that legacy, investing in founders with bold ideas that span industries and continents, partnering with them from inception to IPO and beyond to maximize the potential of their ideas. They also focus on early computer firms, digital, in addition to life sciences and healthcare industries.

Notable Investments: Amazon, Compaq, EA, Google, Snap, Twitter, Square, Coursera…

First Round Capital:

First Round is a seed-stage venture firm focused on investing at the earliest possible stage with the goal of building a vibrant community of technology entrepreneurs and companies. Through custom-built software, incredible in-person experiences, and a host of other unique services, First Round helps tiny companies get big while constantly reimagining the role of venture capital. From Blue Apron to Uber, they’ve helped 300+ companies.

Notable Investments: Uber, 9GAG, Mint, Roblox, Square, Ring, Blue Apron, Upstart, eero…

Founders Fund:

Founders Fund is a San Francisco based venture capital firm that invests at every stage in companies building revolutionary technologies. The firm and its partners have been investors, founders, and early employees of prominent technology companies including PayPal, Facebook, SpaceX, and Palantir Technologies. Founders Fund was formed in 2005 and has raised five funds to date. The firm has historically invested in a wide variety of sectors, but focuses particularily in aerospace, artificial intelligence, advanced computing, energy, health and consumer internet.

Notable Investments: SpaceX, Palantir, Stripe, Facebook, Airbnb, Spotify, Wish, Twilio, Lyft…

Social Capital:

Founded in 2011 by Chamath Palihapitiya, Social Capital is a Palo Alto-based investment firm whose mission is to advance humanity by solving the world’s hardest problems. By harnessing technology to address core human needs, they aim to drive a bottom-up redistribution of power, capital and opportunity. In order to achieve this, they’re building a new kind of company and a platform for empowering brilliant entrepreneurs and breakthrough products.

Notable Investments: BOX, Intercom, Slack, SurveyMonkey, Yammer, Coolan, Autonomic…

Benchmark Capital:

Benchmark invests in and works alongside entrepreneurs building startups into transformational companies. They focus on early-stage venture investing in mobile, marketplaces, social, in addition to infrastructure and enterprise software. Founded in 1995, the firm has offices in woodside and San Francisco, California.

The firm has been particularly recognized for its commitment to open source and is noted for creating the first equal ownership and compensation structure for its partners. The six equal general partners who take board seats and a hands-on approach to every entrepreneur and company they back, with no junior investment staff.

Benchmark has had 37 exits since beginning of 2011; 14 IPOs and 23 M&As representing a total market value of more than $60 billion.

Notable Investments: Uber, Snapchat, Tinder, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, eBay, Red Hat…

Lightspeed Venture Partners:

Lightspeed Venture Partners is a multi-stage venture capital firm focused on accelerating disruptive innovations and trends in the Enterprise, Consumer, and Health sectors. Over the past two decades, their team has backed hundreds of entrepreneurs and helped build more than 400 companies globally. Lightspeed and its affiliates currently manage $10.5B across the global Lightspeed platform, with investment professionals and advisors in multiple locations such as Silicon Valley, Israel, India, China, Southeast Asia and Europe.

Notable Investments: Giphy, OYO Rooms, Ripple, Snap, Telegram, Wayz, Cameo, Grubhub…

Spark Capital:

Spark Capital is a venture capital firm responsible for early-stage funding of technology startups. It has branches in Boston, San Francisco, and New York City. Since its inception, the firm has raised nine funds, and has invested in multiple sectors including consumer, FinTech, and Software…

Notable Investments: Twitter, oculus, Slack, Discord, Postmates, Coinbase, Trello, Etoro…

Menlo Ventures:

Menlo Ventures provides capital for multi-stage consumer, enterprise and life sciences technology companies. Since 1976, the firm’s market-driven analysis has led to the identification of opportunities and successful investments in innovative markets. Menlo’s portfolio includes more than 70 public companies, and more than 100 mergers and acquisitions, with $5 billion under management.

Notable Investments: Siri, Poshmark, Uber, Roku, Carta, Scout, PillPack, Gilead, Recursion…

Greylock:

Greylock Partners invests in entrepreneurs that focus on enterprise and consumer software at Seed and Series A, and also make new company investments in Series B and beyond. They support founders throughout their entrepreneurial journey from idea to IPO and onwards.

Notable Investments: Airbnb, Dropbox, Facebook, LinkedIn, Medium, Pandora, Workday…

GSR Ventures:

Founded in 2004, GSR Ventures is one the world’s most successful early-stage venture firms, with over $3 billion under management. They are focused on early-stage technology companies in the United States, China, and East Asia developing AI- enabled enterprise software, consumer platforms and healthcare technology.

Notable Investments: Didi Chuxing, Opay, Alpha, Qunar, Zingbox…

In conclusion, venture capital firms are an important pillar of San Francisco’s startup ecosystem. In fact, these firms often play a crucial part in the success of a startup, by providing not only capital but also strategic assistance, introductions to potential customers, partners, and employees, and much more.

We are starting a new series of articles about the best venture capital firms in major tech hubs across the world such as New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Tokyo…

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