Meet the Year’s Biggest Investors in Early Stage NYC Startups

Stockholder Chris Sacca has some admirable hopes for Twitter, but some of his other ideas are ludicrous emotional pandering.

Lowercase Capital: 3 NYC Deals in 2010

Don't be fooled by founder Chris Sacca's rodeo clown shirts. This Oxford educated cowboy used to run Google's M&A outfit and is among the brightest, and best dressed, in the seed funding game.

Greenhill SAVP: 3 NYC Deals in 2010

Greenhill managing partner Steve Brotman is a former founder and CEO with a big exit under his belt, so startups can get advice from someone who has played the game. It's got a current fund of $102 million and invests across a broad range: from $100K micro-seed to $4 million rounds.

IA Ventures: 3 NYC Deals in 2010

According to their website, IA was, "founded on the belief that managing and extracting value from massive, occasionally unstructured, often real-time data sets is a competitive advantage." Social sites and daily deal services need not apply.

True Ventures: 4 NYC Deals in 2010

This $195 million fund boasts 73 years of combined VC experience. Startups eager for media attention will be well served by True Ventures' Om Malik, who runs the widely read GigaOm blog.


DFJ Gotham: 4 NYC Deals in 2010

DFJ Gotham likes to be the first institutional investor in a startup. They don't mind playing at the seed level for 100-500K, and will bump up to $1-3 million for a series-A round. DFJ is especially interested in East Coast companies and Israeli firms looking to move stateside.

SV Angel: 4 NYC Deals in 2010

This is the granddaddy of angel funds, founded by Ron Conway, who got in early at places like Google and Facebook. Recently, cofounder David Lee was caught up in Michael Arrington's AngelGate kerfuffle, but most startups would still give anything to catch SV Angel's eye. It just raised a fresh $9 million for thefund this month.

Founder Collective: 5 NYC Deals in 2010

A seed-stage venture fund built by a group of successful entrepreneurs, Founder Collective offers a breadth and depth of personal startup experience that few other VC funds can match. It's ranked sixth on CB's list, but founding partner Chris Dixon says that he and his cohorts have actually done closer to 15 seed deals in NYC so far this year.


RRE Ventures: 5 NYC Deals in 2010

With over $800 million under management spread over four funds and 17 portfolio companies based in NYC, RRE is a major player in the Silicon Alley scene. It recently expanded beyond its traditional VC scope by adding a specialized seed funding program.

Spark Capital: 5 NYC Deals in 2010

The only Boston-based fund on the list, Spark Capital focuses on companies at the intersection of media, entertainment and technology. "Some firms play for singles and doubles," reads their website. "We always swing for homeruns." 

First Round Capital: 7 NYC Deals in 2010

This two-year-old Philly-based fund just raised its sophomore round at a rumored $126 million. In the last year its seen big exits as portfolio companies like Hot Potato and Invite media were acquired by big boys like Facebook and Google. We're got their entrepreneur in residence, Charlie O'Donnell, as our Player this week.


Lerer Media Ventures: 10 NYC Deals in 2010

The biggest deal-maker on this list is also the newest entry to the scene. Lerer Media Ventures, the angel fund founded by father and son duo Ken and Ben Lerer launched in February of 2010 and is off to a rapid start. Both Lerers have startup experience, Ken with The Huffington Post and Ben with Thrillist.

AOL Ventures: 5 NYC Deals in 2010 Founded by Mike Brown and Jon Brod earlier this year, AOLV makes early stage investments in start-ups working on content, ad tech, mobile, and local. The hope is that AOL's venture arm will serve to raise the company's profile in the innovation community here in New York as CEO Tim Armstrong tries to reinvent the brand.

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