Atara Round-ups: 5 VC Success Stories you may have missed in June

that you'll want to take a look at says Anya Breen of Atara Partners

With much of the fanfare awarded to the founders building the next unicorn, it is easy to ignore the fact that VCs themselves often need to undergo serious fundraising efforts in order to provide the shoulders for these start-ups to stand on.  June, while a hectic month for early stage across the board, also boasted some significant fundraising and fund launches in the Venture Capital space, providing the impulse needed for an explosive post-pandemic recovery. 


Here are the highlights: 


Andreessen Horowitz closed its largest vertical-specific fund by a mile: 2.2bn committed to crypto.  This dwarfs the firm’s previous commitments to blockchain startups, $300m in 2018 and $515m in 2020 and brings a16z’s total assets under management to $18.8bn.  It’s likely that a large part of the increased confidence from LPs is linked to a16z’s previous success stories in the space: their stake in Coinbase was worth $11.2bn at the time of the direct listing’s first trades, investments Dapper Labs and Dfinity have reached multi-billion dollar valuations in the past year and their Series A lead for Uniswap is positioned to be a huge success.  They have also invested directly in cryptocurrencies.  Key hires that will be driving the crypto division have backgrounds at the NYSE, Google, Coinbase, and most notably the former chairman of the Global Blockchain Business Council, and former special advisor to Joe Biden, who will be coming on board as Global Head of Policy. 


G2 Venture Partners, a spin out of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has raised $500m that will be specifically focused on technologies that “make industries more sustainable”.  This is the second G2VP fund, following a $350m raise in 2018.  The industries in particular that the fund will be targeting are transportation, logistics, manufacturing, agriculture and energy, and the focus will be on new startups as opposed to follow-up investments.  G2VP typically invests $10-50 million in each company and will be looking to make about 15 investments out of this fund, which has been raised from the likes of Shell Ventures, Mitsui & Co., Daimler AG, ABB Switzerland Ltd. and The McKnight Foundation.  Given the pressure being applied to the parent companies of some of these backers it is not surprising that there is a particular focus on sustainability and adaptation as major industries are undergoing rapid transformations worldwide.


Balderton Capital has launched a $680m early growth fund focused on Europe.  The fund is sector agnostic and will target around 15 companies with around $30-60m in funding each. Rana Yared, GP, indicated that the approach will be “one of few”, offering “personalised attention from the entire partnership” and access to the 50 strong Balderton team.  After 20 years the firm counts among its seed to Series A success stories Aircall, ComplyAdvantage, Contentful, Depop, GoCardless, Infarm, Labster, Revolut, THG, Vestiaire Collective and Zego; this move to a new stage of primary investing for the firm points to evolving approaches and shifting investment practices.


Towards the end of the month, Accel announced a close of $3bn across three funds, solidifying the Silicon Valley based company’s place in the sector after 38 years of investment.  This raise includes $650m for their 15th early-stage US fund, $650m for their 7th European and Israeli fund and $1.75bn for its 6th global growth stage fund.  This compliments a $2.25bn global later stage fund announced in December.  The firm will aim for $50-75 million per investment, and around 20-30 companies per fund, but they have also expressed a desire to continue incubating and writing seed-checks. Since 2019 they have seen 10 portfolio companies go public globally including Slack, Bumble, UiPath, CrowdStrike, PagerDuty, Deliveroo and Squarespace, among others. 


BMW i Ventures raised $300m to invest in Cleantech, and like G2VP is looking to fund transitions to sustainability within transport, manufacturing and supply chains, and ultimately reduce the carbon footprint of its parent company.  Unlike a traditional corporate VC, BMW i Ventures operates broadly independently, while backed by BMW. The firm moved to Silicon Valley in 2016 and with this announced a $530m investment round, which is now at the end of its period for new investments.  Unlike this first fund, that focused on autonomous and digital disruption, this fund will focus on sustainability and cutting emissions in the designing, manufacturing and building of cars, rather than innovation in core car technology.  According to the Managing Partners of BMW i Ventures they have no intention of acquiring investments, but rather want “to be at the forefront of finding companies with high potential that can work with BMW or the rest of the industry in the future” in light of BMWs recent environmental commitments. 

Although the main headlines, these were by no means the only VCs that pulled in funding this June.  SOSV, the former family office of Sean O’Sullivan raised $100m to back maturing startups and maintain its stake in its breakaway portfolio companies.  Fuel Ventures, the VC behind Paddle and Heroes, launched a 63.6m early stage fund with the hope of backing 60 startups within 12 months and becoming one of the most prolific early stage investors in the UK.


Version one (Vancouver and San Francisco) raised a $70m fourth fund plus a $30m opportunities fund dedicated to follow-up investments, and Golden Ventures which is based solely in Canada raised a $100m fourth fund and a $20m opportunities fund.  Finally, the women’s social network Peanut announced it is starting a MicroFund, investing in pre-seed stage startups founded by women and other historically excluded founders regardless of age, life-stage, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Given female-founded startups globally saw a 27% decrease in funding in 2020 as compared to 2019, this laser focus seems wholly necessary as we start to rebuild post-pandemic.