These venture bets on startups that "returned the fund," making firms and careers, were the result of research, strong convictions, and patient follow-through. Here are the stories behind the biggest VC home runs of all time.
In venture capital, returns follow the Pareto principle — 80% of the wins come from 20% of the deals.
Great venture capitalists invest knowing they’re going to take a lot of losses in order to hit those wins.
Chris Dixon of venture firm Andreessen Horowitz, a CB Insights Smart Money VC, has referred to this as the “Babe Ruth effect,” in reference to the legendary 1920s-era baseball player. Babe Ruth would strike out a lot, but also made slugging records.
Likewise, VCs swing hard, and occasionally hit a home run. Those wins often make up for all the losses and then some — they “return the fund.”
We analyzed 45 of the biggest VC hits of all time to learn more about what those home runs have in common.
To do so, we pulled data and information from web archives, books, S-1s, founder interviews, the CB Insights platform, and more. For each company, we dove into the remarkable numbers they posted before their IPOs and acquisitions, the driving factors behind their growth, and the roles of their most significant investors.
Download the full report to see our analysis on each specific case.
Table of contents
- King Digital Entertainment
- Delivery Hero
- Semiconductor Manufacturing International (SMIC)
- Lending Club
- Rocket Internet
- Acerta Pharma
- Ucar Group
- Meituan Dianping