Friday Letter: The VCJ 50 is all about the bragging rights

This year's VCJ 50 is the first of many annual looks into the fundraising activities of the venture community. Now's your chance to tell us what you think next year will bring.

This week we published our final issue of the year, and in it we debut a new annual feature: the VCJ 50.

This is a ranking compiled by our research team based on worldwide venture firm fundraising activity during the past five years. As you might imagine, the list is dominated by large funds. The top 10 alone have raised more than $82 billion in commitments combined over the past five years.

But young firms, too, stand out, as nine of the firms on the list were formed in the last decade. You can read about that and more of my takeaways from the ranking here.

Since this is our inaugural list, we have no previous years to compare the outsized fundraising figures with, but it’s safe to say that the VC community has ballooned in recent years.

Going forward, the ranking may swell even more as firms continue to raise larger funds. We’re not counting SPACs or any public funds, by the way. And the list may also broaden. Currently, it’s dominated by US-based fund managers, though a dozen are from Europe or Asia.

For now, the VCJ 50 makes the VC community look huge. And a pandemic and a recession aren’t enough to cool its jets. And that brings me to a note of reflection.

The new year is almost upon us. In looking back at 2020, it’s been a remarkable year, to say the least. A lot has changed. At the start of the year, for example, the idea of never meeting a founder in person before investing would have been unheard of. Now, GPs and LPs alike have figured out how to finalize deals while working from home, using Zoom and holding socially distanced meetings.

Through it all, the venture community has remained an optimistic and active group; they are all carrying on, deploying capital and hiring and promoting talent. They’ve also secured lots of fund commitments, as 50 firms from around the world have made it into our inaugural ranking.

If you’re on the list, that is something worth bragging about.

Wishing you all a happy and safe rest of the year!

In the meantime, tell me your thoughts about the VCJ 50. Or let me know your outlook for 2021, especially when it comes to fundraising. I’m always happy to connect with investors and listen to thoughts and ideas. You can reach me at and I’m open to voice and video calls, of course.