What is The TechCrunch List?

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The TechCrunch List is a verified, curated list of investors who have demonstrated a recent commitment to first checks and leading rounds from seed through growth, organized by market vertical. Our mission is to help founders cut through the noise of the VC industry and find the investors that can catalyze their rounds.

Each of these words is important:

  • Verified: We use recommendations from founders themselves to select investors for The TechCrunch List. While there are, by some counts, tens of thousands of VCs and angels out there, only a small sliver of them are willing to lead checks and/or be the first check into a company. For founders, finding that lead or first check can often be weeks if not months of work, and we want to give founders a shortcut to the key investors that might catalyze a round for them.
  • Curated: There is no direct quantitative formula for being added to the List. Ultimately, the selection of each investor is chosen by TechCrunch’s editorial team based on the recommendations from founders, publicly available data sources like Crunchbase, and our own confidential network of sources.
  • Recent: We want to see evidence of recent investments, and are not focused on exit performance at all. Founders want first and lead checks today and don’t care whether an investor might have been investing in a space ten years ago. Investors drift, retire, and move on, and so we have a huge bias toward recent investments rather than history.
  • First and/or Lead: We are looking for investors willing to put their checkbook behind founders before other investors commit. At the earliest stages of a startup, that’s likely a “first check”, and as startups age, it becomes a “lead investor”. Ultimately, we want to identify those investors who regularly catalyze venture rounds for founders.
  • Seed through Growth: We cover all fundraising up to let’s call it Series C, with definitely a bias toward Seed and Series A rounds. The later the fundraising round, the less that founders have an issue identifying potential VC investors (hopefully, they are both good at fundraising and have a full board of VCs helping them to fundraise!)
  • Organized by market vertical: Investors have areas they invest in and areas they don’t. Our goal is to help founders cut through the noise and identify who is active in a specific vertical right now.

What are the base qualifications to be on the List?

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Our basic qualifications are:

  • The ability to independently write checks. At larger firms, that’s generally a general partner or managing director. At smaller firms, it can vary, and obviously angels have their own capital or funds to deploy from.
  • Generally 2+ years of check writing experience. It’s hard to prove that an investor will write checks in a given vertical before they actually do so. So we generally require at least a two year track record to be able to evaluate an investor. That said, if an investor happens to be writing checks rapidly (they just raised a new fund and want to burn it in six months), let us know. We can make an exception with the right evidence.
  • A minimum of 2+ deals in a market vertical, with a strong preference for deals in the last 36 months. Our goal in identifying investors by industry vertical is that a founder can connect with investors who are experts in a particular domain and who are ready to invest in that vertical.

What are the most common reasons people aren’t included on the List?

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  • Lack of data and recommendations: The single most common reason is that we have no insight publicly or privately about a VC’s portfolio or thesis. Many investors have received no founder recommendations, have no data listed in public datasets, have limited to no fundraising announcements, and have no internet presence. That’s all well and fine (there are great investors who keep a very low profile), but without some form of evidence, we just can’t include them on the List.
  • Short or inconsistent track record: Founders want to know that an investor is ready to invest in a space right now. We often get data that is years (sometimes decades!) old with no insight into what an investor is interested in right now. It’s great that an investor backed a company in 2005 that did well, but that is wholly irrelevant from a founder’s point of view in the 2020s.
  • Just got promoted: Similar to the above point, congratulations to any investor who just got promoted into a check-writing role. It’s a huge honor and an endorsement of a firm’s faith in their investing capability. However, it’s hard for us to assess a new investor without some investing track record.
  • Scattershot investing: While we are more flexible about this at the pre-seed/seed stage, where many investors just invest in compelling founders without deep regard for market, we get stricter about this the later the investing stage. No investor can simultaneously specialize in enterprise infrastructure, consumer social networks, digital biotech, and climate change.
  • Secondaries don’t count: Secondaries never count for the List. The List is targeted at founders raising primary capital.
  • Corporate VCs are difficult but not impossible to include: While there are obviously some exceptions, founders rarely have positive things to say about their corporate venture experiences. Many corporate VCs often can’t lead rounds, and often have a hard time writing first checks without the involvement of traditional VCs. Given that situation, it is more difficult to include corporate VCs than traditional venture investors.

What do I do if I don’t like the verticals selected for me?

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We choose the verticals for each investor based on the track record we have available to us from founder recommendations and from publicly-accessible datasets like Crunchbase, our own reporting, and our confidential sources.

If you think that your verticals are egregiously wrong, feel free to send over portfolio details for investments made in other areas by emailing us. That said, founder recommendations are always the best way to lock in the right verticals.

How often will the List be updated?

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We are always receiving new founder recommendations and considering new evidence and data we receive. As we compile that new information, we will make changes to the List as appropriate on a rolling basis. There is no “deadline” for submissions.

Does the list “rank” investors?

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No. The list is not a ranking of investors, but rather a positive endorsement of investors we have identified as leaders in their respective fields.

Can an investor ever be removed from the List?

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Yes. Investors drift from their investment theses, retire, move on, change professions, and more. The List is meant to be up-to-date, which means we want to see active investing in the verticals that investors say they are interested in. If the founder recommendations, evidence, and data start to turn stale, we will remove investors from the List as appropriate.

How do I send in a correction?

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If there is a correction needed to your entry, please email us.

If I’m a founder, how do I submit a recommendation?

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Please fill out this short, 2-minute survey.

The TechCrunch List seems to be U.S.-centric. Are you going to expand out to other geographies?

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Yes. Given our focus on Silicon Valley, our readership skews toward the U.S. and thus our recommendations and data skew that way as well. If you have data on investments in Europe, Asia, Latin America or Africa, please send them our way.

How diverse is The TechCrunch List?

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The TechCrunch List at launch included 66 women (18%) and 105 people of color (28%), including 21 black venture capitalists (6%). While those percentages are clearly far below equality, it is notable that these groups seem to be recommended at higher than VC industry averages.

How did you ensure diversity in the list?

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We actively seek out candidate investors from under-represented groups by using a variety of data sources, including by using public databases of investors from advocacy organizations, agendas from conferences with particularly diverse speakers, crowdsourced lists of diverse investors, and other sources to complement our other research. In addition, we used information from TechCrunch Include sources.