The 10 Top Venture Capitalists
01. MARC ANDREESSEN
Marc Andreessen burst onto the tech scene in the ’90s as a cofounder of Netscape and has since become the country’s most influential venture capitalist. The entrepreneur transitioned to angel investor in 2005, when he and business partner Ben Horowitz began investing in startups such as Digg and Twitter. In 2009, they formalized their relationship by starting Silicon Valley VC firm Andreessen Horowitz. Focusing primarily on tech, Andreessen has helped the firm grow to a valuation of $2.7 billion and financed companies such as Skype, Jawbone, Facebook and Pinterest. His recent individual investments are gearing more towards news sites, including PandoDaily and Business Insider.
02. ROBIN RICHARDS DONOHOE
DRAPER RICHARDS KAPLAN FOUNDATION
A seasoned venture capitalist with early investments in Hotmail and Skype under her belt, Robin Richards Donohoe recently turned her attention to an emerging trend called venture philanthropy, an area of capitalism funding socially conscious entrepreneurs. After two decades working with veteran venture capitalist Bill Draper at VC firm Draper Richards, she cofounded the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation to focus purely on investing in companies with a social mission. “We are helping to build nonprofit companies by giving them $100,000 a year, which we will never see again,” says Donohoe. “Two of our deals, Kiva.org and Room to Read, are among the fastest growing nonprofits in the world.”
03. REID HOFFMAN
The LinkedIn cofounder officially joined the now 48-year-old Greylock in 2009, but his eye for spotting tech superstars dates back more than a decade: As an angel, he got in early at companies like Facebook and Zynga. At Greylock, Hoffman’s portfolio includes travel site Airbnb, home furnishings company One Kings Lane and Swipely, a company that helps merchants cull customer data from online payments. His latest moves include taking personal stakes in Jelly, a new startup from Twitter cofounder Biz Stone, and philanthropic website Kiva.
04. KEN HOWERY
A PayPal vet and private-investing partner of Peter Thiel, Howery helped launch Founders Fund with Thiel in 2005. One of the most forward-thinking investors in the business, Howery says he hones in on “breakthrough tech businesses in space, artificial intelligence, robotics and healthcare.” That includes a $12 million investment in healthcare firm ZocDoc and $10 million to SolarCity, the largest full service solar provider in America (Elon Musk is its chairman). “Our investment in SolarCity came at the IPO in December and has quadrupled [in value] since then,” Howery says.
05. TIM KEATING
Not all venture capitalists are found on the coasts: Tim Keating’s Keating Capital finds its home in Greenwood Village, Colo. “We are ultra-late-stage venture capitalists as opposed to leveraged buyouts,” Keating explains. “We don’t take control of companies.” That philosophy translates to pre-IPO investments in companies primarily in tech or cleantech, such as BrightSource Energy, Solazyme and TrueCar. But Keating allows outside investors in on his picks through a closed-end mutual fund that invests in companies planning to go public and is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the symbol KIPO. “We created a unique public-access vehicle that anyone can invest in,” Keating says.
06. JOSHUA KUSHNER
Though his father made his name in New York real estate, Silicon Alley-based Joshua Kushner is carving out his place in the VC world. After cofounding Vostu, now the largest social gaming company in Latin America, while a student at Harvard, Kushner started Thrive Capital in 2009 with a focus on media and internet investments. One of its most noteworthy investments was participating in Instagram’s $50 million Series B round and tripling his money just days later when Facebook purchased the photo app for $1 billion. Thrive’s portfolio includes other buzz-generating startups such as Fab, Codecademy and Warby Parker.
07. VINOD KHOSLA
A Stanford grad, cofounder of Sun Microsystems and partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Vinod Khosla had nearly two decades of VC experience before founding Khosla Ventures in 2004. Recognizing the cleantech and health tech trends early, Khosla manages an estimated $1 billion of investor capital as well as personally funded investments. Still, he prefers not to call himself a venture capitalist. “I am in the venture-assistant business,” he has said. “My goal is to be the best assistant there is for anybody trying to build a large, technology-oriented company.”
08. YURI MILNER
Originally from Russia, Yuri Milner has interests in 25 internet companies through his investment fund DST Global. Some of his most significant investments include $200 million in Facebook, $800 million in Twitter and $50 million in ZocDoc. Milner also supports early-stage entrepreneurs by investing $150,000 in each of the members of startup incubator Y Combinator. But his interests aren’t limited to the States: Milner’s eyes have turned towards China lately, and he’s recently invested in Alibaba Group, often described as China’s eBay.
09. MEGAN QUINN
KLEINER PERKINS CAUFIELD & BYERS
A former exec at Google and Square, Megan Quinn represents a new generation at VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Since joining last year, she is focusing on consumer internet investments (to which KPCB has dedicated a $525 million venture fund). Quinn is especially keen on consumer health and green startups. “There hasn’t been a ton of innovation in the past 50 years in terms of consumer preventative health,” she recently explained.
10. FRED WILSON
UNION SQUARE VENTURES
Fred Wilson’s 25-plus-year career in venture capital spans several firms, but he is best known as the cofounder of Union Square Ventures, an anchor tenant in the Manhattan venture capital industry. With a track record that includes investments in Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Zynga and 10gen, Wilson is now looking to repeat that success with Coinbase, a San Francisco-based digital currency startup. Coinbase was Wilson’s first VC investment in nearly two years, but expect his pace to quicken: “I have come to believe that a number of new fundamental technologies have hit the internet and it is time to get busy putting out money,” he recently blogged.