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unicorn
AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo
Not so rare anymore.
UNICORNS

The biggest unicorn makers in tech, ranked

By Alice Truong

Deputy editor

Unicorns—the nickname given to startups worth at least $1 billion—are becoming more commonplace these days. Though more than 100 companies joined the billion-dollar-startup club last year, it’s rare for even the most renowned investing firms to mint more than a handful of them.

According to data from research firm Pitchbook, Accel Partners and Insight Venture Partners are considered the biggest unicorn makers in tech. The two firms, respectively based in Palo Alto, California and New York City, have each made seven investment deals that helped push the valuation of a startup above $1 billion.

For Accel, these companies include Spotify, Lookout, SimpliVity, and Illumio. For Insight Venture Partners, its list has Delivery Hero, Pluralsight, Docker, and Nextdoor. There’s also some overlap between the two firms: Both helped make AirWatch, Qualtrics, and Hootsuite into billion-dollar companies. Accel and Insight Venture Partners have not responded to a request for comment.

Venture capital firmDeals that pushed startup valuation past $1 bln
Accel Partners7
Insight Venture Partners7
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers6
Sequoia Capital6
Tiger Global Management5
Andreessen Horowitz4
Greylock Partners4
IDG Capital Partners4
Bessemer Venture Partners3
Institutional Venture Partners3
Qiming Venture Partners3
Banyan Capital2
Benchmark Capital2
BlackRock2
Comcast Ventures2
Formation 82
Goldman Sachs2
Index Ventures2
Industry Ventures2
Matrix Partners2
Meritech Capital Partners2
Temasek Holdings2
VantagePoint Capital Partners2
Venrock2

In total, only 90 venture-capital firms can consider themselves unicorn makers, and the vast majority—two-thirds—have only one such startup under their belts.

A few things to note about the data: The numbers take into account follow-on deals, which include subsequent investments in companies the firms already had a stake in. In addition, the data look only at later funding rounds, and thus firms specializing in early investments, which may include startups that go on to become billion-dollar companies, aren’t represented here.

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