List of 15 Best VC Firms in California

Benjamin Debonneville
Founder & CEO
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In the world of startups, there's a saying: 'Where there's Silicon Valley, there's gold.'

But it's not gold that entrepreneurs are mining; it's venture capital. Now, where better to seek such treasure than in California?

Home to an astounding 2,300 VC firms, the Golden State isn't just where dreams are made—it's where they're funded.

With an investment value that skyrocketed to a whopping $106 billion, California proudly holds the crown for the highest VC investment in the U.S.

But with such a vast ocean of firms, which ones truly stand out? Dive in as we unravel the 15 best VC firms in California.

With over 2,000 VC firms in California, narrowing it down to the top 15 is no small feat.

Yet, after deep consideration, here's our curated list of the elite firms that stand out, driving innovation and shaping the future in the Golden State.

1. Sequoia Capital

Established in 1972 by visionary Donald T. Valentine in Menlo Park, California, Sequoia Capital has been at the forefront of venture capital investment, with a staggering combined market value of $1.4 trillion.

Investing predominantly in technology, their prowess can be gauged by their involvement in giants like Apple, Google, and WhatsApp.

With a deep global reach, spanning from the USA to Asia, they've made over 1712 investments, celebrated 350 exits, and raised an impressive $22 billion.

True to their commitment, Sequoia partners early, ensuring that even a mere idea can carve a success story.

Ideal For:

  • Innovative Tech Startups: Pioneering investments in companies like Apple and Google prove Sequoia's prowess in championing disruptive technological ideas.
  • Bold, Driven Founders: Sequoia selects a limited number of driven founders, focusing on potential rather than quantity, empowering them to reshape market dynamics.
  • Early-Stage Ventures: With a minimum investment check of $100,000, startups in their infancy find a nurturing partner in Sequoia, guiding them from idea to IPO.

2. Hercules Capital

Founded in 2003, Hercules Capital stands tall as the premier business development company dedicated to venture lending.

With an impressive record of over 209 investments and 131 exits, they've raised a colossal $15 billion.

Strategically headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Hercules has a wide-ranging global footprint. They pride themselves on their diverse investments, spanning life sciences, biotech, sustainable tech, and more.

As one of the largest non-bank lenders to VC-backed companies, Hercules Capital boasts connections and expertise that transform startups at all stages into industry game-changers.

Ideal For:

  • Biotech Innovators: With significant investments in companies like Iveric Bio, Hercules showcases their commitment to groundbreaking biotechnological endeavors.
  • Sustainable Tech Visionaries: Emphasizing a greener future, Hercules has a keen interest in sustainable technology startups, propelling them to industry leadership.
  • Growth-Stage Ventures: With their ability to provide checks up to $10 million, Hercules is a preferred partner for ventures poised for expansive growth.

3. Andreessen Horowitz

In the heart of Silicon Valley lies Andreessen Horowitz, commonly dubbed "a16z".

Founded in 2009 by tech luminaries Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, this venture capital powerhouse has cemented its reputation by championing technological disruptors.

With a staggering $32.4 billion in funds raised, they've catalyzed the growth trajectories of iconic firms, including Coinbase, Lyft, and GitHub.

Their diverse investment palette, ranging from biotech to fintech, showcases their commitment to visionary entrepreneurs.

Their vast expertise, combined with an expansive network, ensures startups not only get capital but the strategic edge to redefine industries.

Ideal For:

  • Tech Innovators: With a rich history of supporting technology disruptors, a16z is the go-to for startups revolutionizing the tech landscape.
  • Biotech Visionaries: Investing in groundbreaking biotech ventures, a16z aids startups committed to shaping the future of healthcare and life sciences.
  • Crypto Pioneers: With investments in trailblazers like Coinbase, they’re a firm believer in startups shaping the burgeoning world of blockchain and crypto.

4. UpHonest Capital

From Foster City, California emerges UpHonest Capital, a global venture capital titan on a mission: to back and bolster the game changers of tomorrow.

Since its inception in 2016 by Wei Guo, they've strategically injected capital into startups that exhibit transformative potential.

Their track record is dazzling: 466 invested companies, 28 of which have soared to unicorn status, and 23 achieving successful exits via M&A or IPO.

Beyond funding, UpHonest extends unparalleled mentorship, ensuring startups not just soar, but transcend. Their remarkable investments include trailblazers like Dialpad, Zenreach, and Atrium.

Ideal For:

  • AI Innovators: Passionate about transforming AI landscapes? UpHonest is keen on startups revolutionizing artificial intelligence and machine learning.
  • Healthcare Pioneers: Those reshaping healthcare solutions, UpHonest is your ally in taking groundbreaking biotech and health platforms to the next level.
  • Deep Tech Enthusiasts: With investments in deep tech, robotics, and cloud, startups pushing technological boundaries find a strong partner in UpHonest.

5. ABS Capital Partners

ABS Capital Partners stands as a beacon for emerging growth businesses, keen on metamorphosing into industry leaders.

For over three decades, stationed in Washington, DC, and San Francisco, CA, they've melded entrepreneurial zeal with a rich legacy, investing in about 130 B2B software and tech-enabled entities.

Their philosophy? Amplify growth, maximize data asset value, and broaden market horizons.

With an investment range of $10M-$25M, their portfolio boasts of stalwarts like Accurate Group, Alula, and Exos. ABS Capital doesn’t just fund; they mentor, inspire, and collaborate to re-imagine growth trajectories.

Ideal For:

  • EdTech Innovators: Transforming the educational landscape with tech? ABS offers the capital and expertise to amplify your impact.
  • PropTech Visionaries: If you're reshaping property technology, ABS is your partner to push boundaries and lead markets.
  • GovTech & Non-Profit Trailblazers: Revolutionizing public sector tech or leading a non-profit? ABS helps maximize your societal footprint and growth.

6. Accel Partners

Renowned globally, Accel, previously known as Accel Partners, is the touchstone of technological startup success.

With a sprawling network from Sydney to Bengaluru, and a legacy rooted in Palo Alto since 1983, Accel has consistently championed the entrepreneurial spirit.

Pioneered by Arthur Patterson and Jim Swartz, the "Prepared Mind" strategy is their unique hallmark, catalyzing giants like Facebook, Spotify, and Slack.

Commanding an impressive roster with 1793 investments and 349 portfolio exits, they wield an investment prowess ranging from $50M-$75M, catering from seed to growth stages.

Ideal For:

  • Trailblazing Tech Startups: With a penchant for innovation, Accel is your go-to for transformative tech endeavors. Make your mark in the digital cosmos.
  • Growth-Stage Pioneers: Scaling up? Accel’s vast experience and substantial funds propel growth-stage companies to unparalleled heights.
  • Consumer Internet Ventures: Navigating the vast realm of consumer internet? Partner with Accel to chart a success story in the digital consumer sphere.

7. Artiman

With a global presence in Silicon Valley and Bangalore, Artiman sets the gold standard for early-stage, sector-agnostic ventures. Founded in 2001, the firm boasts an impressive $1 billion in managed assets.

Their prowess lies in identifying 'white space' opportunities—those niche markets poised for a breakthrough or massive disruption. Investing primarily in Series A rounds,

Artiman's commitment ranges from an initial $2M to a staggering $25M over a project's lifespan.

Their portfolio is a testament to their vision, featuring 71 diverse companies, including 2 unicorns like Visby Medical and ApplyBoard. With Artiman, innovation finds its champion.

Ideal For:

  • Tech Trailblazers: Entrepreneurs looking to solve complex tech challenges in untapped markets; Artiman is your catalyst to create or disrupt industries.
  • Series A Aspirants: Startups poised for their Series A funding round, seeking both capital and an unparalleled support system.
  • Global Visionaries: With a network spanning the US, India, and beyond, Artiman is ideal for startups eyeing international growth and recognition.

8. Altos Ventures

Established in 1996, Altos Ventures stands tall as a pioneering Silicon Valley investment juggernaut, commanding over $8 billion in regulatory assets.

Focused on trailblazing technology ventures, Altos not only kickstarts seed-stage startups but also elevates them through growth stages with investment ranges spanning a formidable $500K to $100M.

With an impressive portfolio that boasts icons like Roblox and Krafton, Altos champions founders with a vision, aiming to sculpt future-focused, globally dominant businesses.

Their footprint extends from North America to Asia, underlining their commitment to nurturing excellence regardless of borders.

Ideal For:

  • Technology Trailblazers: If you're a tech startup with a scalable vision, Altos Ventures offers the expertise and funds to supercharge your journey.
  • Revenue-Generating Startups: For those already garnering over $1 million in revenue, Altos provides the catalyst for exponential growth.
  • Visionaries with Ownership Mindset: Startups helmed by leaders with a clear future vision, commitment to stakeholders, and keen fiscal prudence find a symbiotic partner in Altos.

9. Blumberg Capital

Founded in 1991, Blumberg Capital stands at the vanguard of venture capitalism, meticulously investing in B2B tech-driven startups.

With a rich legacy of leading investments in AI, big data, and transformative tech, they've seeded 8 unicorns and boast 46 exits.

Their commitment spans from initial seed amounts ranging between $500K to $5M, reserving a significant chunk for follow-on rounds.

With strategic bases in Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Tel Aviv, their global perspective and hands-on advisory ensure that startups aren't just funded but fostered.

Ideal For:

  • B2B Tech Innovators: Embrace Blumberg's expertise if you're geared toward revolutionizing enterprise solutions using transformative tech.
  • Globally Ambitious Startups: Their international presence means startups get insights and connections across vital global tech markets.
  • Founders Seeking Comprehensive Partnership: More than funds, Blumberg offers hands-on advisory, board participation, and robust resources to amplify your growth trajectory.

10. GSR Ventures

Founded in 2004, GSR Ventures commands a formidable presence in the VC sphere with a staggering $3.7B under management.

Specializing in early-stage AI-centric ventures, they've backed game-changers across enterprise software, consumer platforms, and healthcare technology.

With a rich portfolio boasting over 600 investments and 93 exits, GSR stands out as an ensemble of founders, engineers, physicians, and industry mavens, dedicated to transforming industries with AI-driven disruptions, be it in healthcare, fintech, or the consumer sector.

With GSR Ventures, you aren't merely gaining an investor; you're partnering with seasoned trailblazers passionate about forging the future.

Ideal For:

  • AI Visionaries: If you're spearheading AI innovations, GSR offers unmatched expertise to catapult your venture.
  • Healthcare Tech Trailblazers: Entrepreneurs aiming to reshape healthcare with cutting-edge technology find a partner in GSR.
  • Global Disruptors: If your ambition spans beyond borders, aiming at multibillion-dollar global markets, GSR's global insight can be pivotal.

11. Norwest Venture Partners

With over six decades of commitment, Norwest Venture Partners stands tall as a premier venture and growth equity investment powerhouse.

Nestled in Palo Alto and boasting a diverse portfolio spanning from North America to India and Israel, their reach includes an impressive array from Biotech to FinTech.

Partnering with 140+ dynamic firms like Opendoor and Plaid, Norwest is synonymous with transformative growth, having made 854 investments and celebrated 180 exits.

With a foundation in profound expertise and a passion for realizing visions, they ensure entrepreneurs don't just grow but thrive and disrupt.

Ideal For:

  • Global Visionaries: If you're poised to redefine markets, from Silicon Valley to Mumbai, Norwest is your global growth champion.
  • Multi-Sector Innovators: Spanning sectors like Healthcare, AI, E-Commerce, and PropTech, Norwest seeks diverse, revolutionary ideas.
  • High Potential Startups: Ready to make a mark? If your startup boasts a disruptive edge with vast growth potential, Norwest is your ally.

12. Autotech Ventures

Located in the heart of California's Menlo Park, Autotech Ventures is a dynamic VC powerhouse steering over $500M, laser-focused on transforming ground transport.

Fueled by a team of visionary entrepreneurs and technologists, this firm is at the forefront of mobility's next phase, leveraging technology from AI to semiconductors.

With investments spanning from Seed to Series C stages, they've left an indelible mark with giants like Lyft and Volta Charging.

Their penchant for capital-light, innovative businesses drives them to commit initial investments between $1M-$8M, showcasing their dedication to shaping tomorrow's transport landscape.

Ideal For:

  • Tech-Driven Mobility Startups: Revolutionizing ground transport? Whether through AI, autonomous tech, or electrification, Autotech is your strategic ally.
  • Innovative Business Models: Crafting unique models in marketplaces, fintech, or SaaS? Autotech thrives on such groundbreaking ventures.
  • Solutions for Ground Transport: If your startup harnesses tech to address transport challenges, from connectivity to digitization, Autotech's expertise awaits.

13. American Express Ventures

Since 2011, American Express Ventures has been the corporate venture capital wing of American Express, dedicated to revolutionizing both B2B services and consumer commerce.

Located in Palo Alto, California, the firm is committed to over 90 diverse investments, with a particular focus on areas like payments, fraud prevention, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity.

Having achieved 38 successful exits, American Express Ventures actively collaborates with start-ups, leveraging their financial strength and global reach to bring new ideas to market, impacting how businesses and consumers interact every day.

Ideal For:

  • Fintech Innovators: Specializing in consumer payments, fraud detection, or financial data analytics? American Express Ventures seeks to empower such groundbreaking fintech firms.
  • Startups in Digital Transformation: If your venture is in AI, automation, digital servicing, or enhancing customer experience, here's your platform to skyrocket.
  • Global Market Disruptors: Operating beyond the seed stage, and focusing on innovative global solutions in any sector? American Express Ventures is your ideal partner.

14. Sequoia Capital

In the heart of Menlo Park, California, stands Tribe Capital, a prodigious $1.6B+ AUM investment firm, founded by Arjun Sethi, Jonathan Hsu, and Ted Maidenberg in 2018.

Rooted in product and data science, Tribe Capital is dedicated to engineering standout N-of-1 products, companies, and investments.

Specializing in fintech, blockchain, software, and cryptocurrency, they've passionately backed 175+ startups, like Relativity Space and Bolt.

Their strategy? Recognize and supercharge early-stage product-market fit, aiming to mentor businesses with unmatched potential.

Ideal For:

  • Cutting-Edge Fintech Startups: Tribe Capital has a penchant for companies reshaping the financial landscape through innovation and tech.
  • Blockchain Enthusiasts: With investments in pioneers like Carta, Tribe seeks startups that harness blockchain's transformative power.
  • Cryptocurrency Visionaries: Made their mark with SFOX, they are keen on startups shaping the future of cryptocurrency, both domestically and globally.

15. Tribe Capital

Draper Associates, rooted in Silicon Valley, is an illustrious venture capital juggernaut.

Founded in 1985 by Tim Draper of the pioneering Draper VC lineage, the firm proudly carries a heritage of four Draper venture capitalist generations.

From being Tim's personal investment powerhouse to welcoming external partners in 2015, Draper Associates has crafted a legacy, with iconic investments like Tesla, Skype, and Robinhood.

A genuine advocate for entrepreneurs, its portfolio boasts 406 investments and 123 triumphant exits.

The Draper Ecosystem further enriches the startup world, spanning from Draper University to the global Draper Venture Network.

Ideal For:

  • Trailblazing Tech Startups: With past investments in Hotmail and Skype, they excel in transforming technology-driven visions into industry standards.
  • Innovators in Fintech & Healthcare: Backing giants like Robinhood and exploring health domains, they're keen on redefining finance and health landscapes.
  • Space & Aerospace Ventures: With faith in companies like SpaceX, they seek startups aiming to chart the skies and beyond.


Venture capital is more than just money; it's about fostering innovation, trust, and pioneering visions. From deep tech to fintech, from Earth to outer space, these California-based VC firms have been game-changers in elevating startups to industry leaders.

As an entrepreneur, aligning with the right VC can make all the difference, and as we've explored, the Golden State offers a goldmine of opportunities.

So, whether you're a budding founder or an avid industry-watcher, always remember: behind every groundbreaking startup is a team of believers, betting big on dreams.

Here's to the dreamers and those who back them! Cheers!

Benjamin gave great tips to my start-up Blend for polishing and optimising my pitch deck, refreshing perspective. Recommend!