If you were trying to close your new venture fund in the spring, you probably had a lot of sleepless nights and frantic Zoom meetings as limited partners tried to shore up their existing portfolios amidst Wall Street turmoil.
But after the initial shock from coronavirus wore off and public markets sharply rebounded, 2020 turned out to be a great year to raise a new fund, with the major caveat that you are well-established and raising lots of capital.
Bigger was definitely better.
U.S. venture capital funds raised a record $69.1 billion in 2020, according to Pitchbook data. And there were 14 mega-funds that hauled in $1 billion or more, the most since 2010.
Those included a pair of $4.5 billion mega-funds that Silicon Valley firm Andreessen Horowitz announced in November and a $1.8 billion vehicle Lightspeed, another Valley firm, closed in April.
But while the total amount of capital hit new highs, it was raised by far fewer firms. Smaller firms that back early-stage startups are having a much harder time fundraising.
Los Angeles is known for those smaller funds, but despite headwinds, 2020 saw some standouts.
B Capital Group closed a $822 million second fund in June with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) taking the lead as anchor investor. It was more than twice as big as the firm's $360 million debut fund.
B Capital Group was founded in 2014 by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, who's based in Singapore, and Raj Ganguly, a former BCG investor who resides in Manhattan Beach.
In November, Sinai Capital Partners announced the close of its $600 million second fund, $500 million of which will go towards the tech-focused Sinai Ventures and the rest to fund movies and television shows at New Slate Ventures. All the capital comes from a reclusive German billionaire.
The firm is run by Jordan Fudge, who stands out in the overwhelmingly white and older world of VC because he is Black, openly gay and only 28-years old. With the most recent raise, he now presides over nearly a billion dollars in capital.
Westlake Village BioPartners, the two-year-old firm focusing on life science and therapeutic companies, announced this month it has raised two new funds with $500 million in dry powder.
Last month, March Capital closed a $365 million third fund, according to SEC filings. The Santa Monica venture firm focusing on enterprise software was founded by Jim Armstrong, Jamie Montgomery, Gregory Milken and Sumant Mandal in 2014.
The firm has reaped a billion dollar-plus paper return on the 6.8 million shares it holds in the cybersecurity company CrowdStrike.
Data from Pitchbook and dot.LA. Lead art by Candice Navi.
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