At the beginning of this year we embarked on a quest to highlight those in the venture communities across the globe, who were influencing change. Being a software company that powers the global venture community, we know and understand the people on the ground doing deals and supporting companies as they grow aren’t necessarily the ones front and center in the press.
So, we reached out to local communities and asked them to nominate the Most Influential investors to showcase the unsung heroes of our industry. What we found surpassed even our expectations. Not only has the response been overwhelmingly positive, but we’ve also been able to get to know a lot more about our fellow investors.
This post highlights some of the things we’ve learned so far, and to let everyone know nominations close on May 1st, so there is still time to nominated your Most Influential investor here.
Our nominees so far have been worldwide with roughly 65% being based in the US, and the rest from around the globe. A special thanks to our team members that put in some early mornings and late nights to adjust for other time zones. After the United States, the United Kingdom came in second for volume of nominees, with the vast majority in and around London. Other notable clusters on the list include India, Germany, and Singapore.
Industries ranged FinTech to FemTech, number of funds from 1-8, and AUM between $20M and $525M. The overwhelming trend that we noticed was value-add. Almost every fund had taken this concept to a whole new level, whether it was marketing for high-end retail brands, or deep corporate connections into the logistics industry. One group maintains a job site to help attract talent for their portfolio companies, while another curates an invitation-only network for founders.
Enough about our observations, we’ll have plenty more to publish in the coming months. Let’s talk about the nominees and what we heard from them.
We asked each nominee what industry trends will continue to develop over the coming years. What we didn’t expect was the wide variety of answers. Our nominees hail from all over the globe, with a wide variety of focus areas, but the answers varied even among similar geographies and investment profiles.
Automation and AI
While this covered a wide variety of areas, this is the clearest theme so far. One group looks at the sensors required to manage automation, from manufacturing equipment to mining vehicles. Another has several investments spanning the communication of connected devices, and the security around it. AI will help manage all of this information and continue to provide value over a wide variety of industries.
We saw a rise in corporate influence across the board. More major companies are launching internal funds to augment R&D and to solve internal problems. In addition, they are building more intentional relationships with VCs to help de-risk their future investments. To paraphrase one nominee, the low hanging fruit is gone, so the companies currently seeking capital require more specialized knowledge and access to resources that are much more difficult to acquire.
Founders as Investors
A sizable portion of the nominees had at least one founder on the team and a number were made up entirely of founders. According to many of them, this provided unique insight into identifying the right leadership teams and in offering much more specific expertise on operating the business. This fits with the deeper level of value-add that we observed as an overall trend.
Launching the Most Influential List has been a fantastic experience so far and we couldn’t do it without your help, so thank you! We are continuing to accept nominations through May 1st so please send more influencers our way. We will continue to post updates as we narrow down the list, so keep an eye out. Lastly, this is about the community, so we welcome all thoughts and feedback on what we’re doing well and what we can improve.