Ten Most Active VC Firms of 2010 (So Far…)

We’re still a few weeks away from Q3 venture capital deal data, but fired up the old database to see which firms have been the most active so far.

It’s mostly the usual suspects, although Benchmark Capital and Redpoint Ventures moved into the Top 10 with much faster investment paces than they exhibited last year.

What follows is based on our VentureXpert database, based on global investment pace (the MoneyTree numbers, on the other hand, are only for investments in U.S. companies). It only includes “institutional” VCs, as opposed to super-angels (many of whom would probably top the list). Per usual, just a reminder that money in doesn’t always correlate to money out:

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[slide title=”NEW ENTERPRISE ASSOCIATES”]
NEA has the venture market’s largest fund, so it’s not too surprising that it tops this list. The firm has invested in 15 companies so far this year, including first-time investments for Nordic Windpower, Rhythm Pharmaceuticals, Solar Junction, Ra PHarmaceuticals and One Block Off The Grid.

[slide title=”KLEINER PERKINS CAUFIELD & BYERS”]
When is 14 deals in 10 weeks considered sluggish? When the firm closed 14 deals in the preceding month (December ’09).

Still, tied for second place ain’t too shabby for Kleiner Perkins, which is another firm with lots of cash to invest. New portfolio companies in 2010 include TransMedics, Pulmonx, UpWind Solutions, ReputationDefender and Amyris Brasil.

[slide title=”INTEL CAPITAL”]
Intel Capital was the busiest VC shop last decade, and so far this year has made 13 investments. It also recently announced a big commitment to Brasil, and somehow got press for a promise to keep making VC investments (great PR, dumb journalism).

New investments this year for Intel Capital include Betaworks Studio, July Systems and SpectraWatt.

[slide title=”REDPOINT VENTURES”]
Redpoint’s year has been marked by one of its portfolio companies doing a memorable Super Bowl ad (HomeAway) and anticipation over the Solyndra IPO, but it also has managed to do 13 new deals.

Portfolio additions include Clicker Media, Plastic Jungle, Posterous and Tantalus Systems. Last year, Redpoint invested in just 25 different companies.

[slide title=”SEQUOIA CAPITAL”]
Sequoia may be tied for third place with Intel Capital and Redpoint, but it takes the prize for most new portfolio investments with eight (no idea what the prize is… should be send flowers?)

New newbies are: Implantable Provider Group, Prudent Energy, Acton Pharmaceuticals, Beijing Jiuhe Changpin Technology, Hantele Telecom Science & Technology, Huayi Network, Blipify and Snaptu.

[slide title=”BENCHMARK CAPITAL”]
Benchmark matched Intel Capital with 12 investments so far this year, which is a heady pace considering that Benchmark invested in just 33 companies all of last year.

Portfolio additions include Clicker Media, GaiKai, Nicera Networks, Rambus and Scale Computing.

[slide title=”POLARIS VENTURE PARTNERS”]
Polaris apparently wasn’t too concerned about dry powder issues, despite launching a new fundraising drive earlier this year (word is the firm will close on around $500m early next month).

The bi-coastal firm has deals so far in 2010, including a new one called Saga Investments and today’s seed deal for JIBE. Last year, Polaris invested in 51 different companies.

[slide title=”VENROCK”]
No more Tony Sun, but the deals keep coming. Venrock closed 11 transactions since New Year’s Day, including for new portfolio plays Chelsae Therapeutics and Smartling.

Last year, Venrock invested in 52 different companies.

[slide title=”HONORARY MENTIONS”]
Three firms tied for 10th place with 10 deals each: Bessemer Venture Partners, Draper Fisher Juvertson and Menlo Ventures.
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