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Left to right: Alfred Lin, Kaitlyn Doyle, Michael Seibel, Kirsten Green, Sheel Mohnot, and Ruchi Sanghvi.
Sequoia Capital; TechNexus; Michael Seibel; Forerunner Ventures; Sheel Mohnot; Wikimedia Commons; Skye Gould/Insider

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  • Tens of thousands of institutions and individuals are active seed investors.
  • Many of them make money. But only a few succeed repeatedly.
  • The Seed 100 is a list of VCs who have mastered early-stage investing, based on data analysis from Tribe Capital.
  • Also read the Seed 25 list of the best female seed VCs.

The venture capitalists who write the earliest checks — known as seed investors — take the biggest risks. But when they choose well, they also reap the biggest rewards. With huge profits at stake, thousands of institutions and individuals are active seed investors.

But seed investing is more an art than a science and only a few succeed regularly. Tribe Capital, a seed venture-capital firm and an investor in other funds, set out to find the top investors by analyzing data on about 1,000 of them. The result is this list of the top 100 as well as the Seed 25, a list of the top female seed investors.

The table below offers the Seed 100 at a glance, with links to each person's profile and an additional link to their Twitter account. It lets you search by name or sector and sort by rank, name, and city. Scroll down below the table to browse through the whole list.

100. Nitesh Banta

Nitesh Banta, the cofounder and CEO of B12.
Twitter/@nbanta

Title: Cofounder and CEO, B12

City: New York

Notable seed investments: Clara Health, Pilot, Radar, Room, TileDB

Banta can make fast decisions on deals based on a decade of investing experience. A serial entrepreneur, he started his venture career at General Catalyst but has doubled back to startups with a new company called B12.

It makes software for helping businesses with front-office tasks. Banta says on AngelList that he continues to invest in 15 to 25 companies a year.

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99. Jesse Robbins

Jesse Robbins, a partner at Heavybit and the founder of Orion Labs.
Jesse Robbins

Title: Partner, Heavybit; founder, Orion Labs

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Chef Software, Conjur, LaunchDarkly, Zymergen

Robbins is the right investor to call in an emergency. A former volunteer firefighter, he worked for five years as Amazon's "master of disaster," responsible for keeping the website running during unexpected outages.

Now Robbins is helping founders weather storms as a partner at Heavybit, an accelerator and venture fund for developer and enterprise startups.

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98. Andy Dunn

Andy Dunn, a cofounder of Bonobos and Red Swan Ventures.
Sarah Jacobs/Business Insider

Title: Cofounder, Bonobos; cofounder, Red Swan Ventures; chairman, Monica + Andy

City: New York

Notable seed investments: Away, Coinbase, Glossier, Oscar, Scopely, Warby Parker

When Dunn isn't building his own successful consumer company, he's investing in one.

Halfway through his 11-year tenure as the CEO of the menswear company Bonobos, Dunn started a venture firm, Red Swan, to back founders creating delightful consumer products and services.

The firm stopped raising new funds in 2016, but Dunn has continued to write checks as an angel investor.

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97. Charles Moldow

Charles Moldow, a general partner at Foundation Capital.
Foundation Capital

Title: General partner, Foundation Capital

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: CloudOn, Hey Inc., Mirror Emoji Keyboard, Motif, Porch

Moldow is known for his track record of investments in a fintech niche: lending. His startup bets include LendingClub and OnDeck Capital, which both went public in 2014.

The Foundation Capital general partner has company-building in his bones. Before joining the early-stage venture firm, Moldow lived the startup hustle as an early employee of two startups, the internet service provider @Home Network and the speech-recognition app Tellme Networks.

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96. Larry Marcus

Larry Marcus, a cofounder and managing director of Marcy Venture Partners.
Marcy Venture Partners

Title: Cofounder and managing director, Marcy Venture Partners

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Fetch, Jukely, Wingz

Marcus is the career investor who joined forces with Jay Z, hip-hop's first billionaire, to form a consumer-focused venture firm. The pair's stacked network has led to investments in an electric-mobility startup, a catering company, and Rihanna's lingerie brand, Savage X Fenty.

Marcus previously backed companies like Netflix and Pandora as an angel investor.

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95. Jared Friedman

Jared Friedman, a group partner at Y Combinator.
Y Combinator

Title: Group partner, Y Combinator

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: The Athletic, MessageBird, Rappi, Scale AI, Solugen, Substack

Friedman is an investor at Y Combinator, where he started an internet company before he invested in other entrepreneurs. His company, Scribd, was part of an early batch of startups funded in 2006, and it went on to become one of the most popular websites.

Friedman said his favorite part of the job was working with founders from the earliest days.

"It's crazy when five years later they are running a giant company and we can look back on our first office hours and see how uncertain everything was," Friedman said.

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94. E. Bora Uygun

E. Bora Uygun, a cofounder of Bora & Sons.
E. Bora Uygun

Title: Cofounder, Bora & Sons

City: Vancouver

Notable seed investments: Carbon Health, Eligible, OccamzRazor, Remote Team, Rescale, Robinhood

Uygun is a serial entrepreneur with four startups and a doctorate in information technology and telecoms on his résumé. Originally from Turkey, Uygun says he invests in founders who are attacking large markets with software solutions that remove pain points for customers.

His advice to aspiring seed investors is that they start today with "as little as $1,000."

"I believe they won't regret it," Uygun said.

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93. Sam Altman

Sam Altman, the cofounder and CEO of OpenAI.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Title: Cofounder and CEO, OpenAI

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Heap, Nervana, Optimizely, PlanGrid, Teespring

Altman is one of tech's most influential investors. He was the president of the storied startup accelerator Y Combinator, whose graduates include Airbnb, Dropbox, and Stripe.

He's no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of the incubator and has shifted focus to OpenAI, an organization that creates free and open-source artificial-intelligence technologies.

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92. Justin Waldron

Justin Waldron, the cofounder and president of Playco.
Playco

Title: Cofounder and president, Playco

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Lambda School, Snackpass, Soomgo, Sprig, Substack

Waldron is best known as one of the eight cofounders of Zynga, where he stayed long enough to see the company list on the public markets and become the largest player in social games.

Last year, he pulled back the curtain on his new venture, the mobile gaming startup Playco, which has already raised $100 million in Series A funding at a valuation above $1 billion.

Waldron's background has helped him score stakes in ultra-competitive funding rounds at Substack and Lambda School, for example.

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91. Jerry Neumann

Jerry Neumann, a managing director of Neu Venture Capital.
Jerry Neumann

Title: Managing director, Neu Venture Capital

City: New York

Notable seed investments: Clubhouse, Datadog, Scoot Science, Sila Money, The Trade Desk

Neumann started investing with his own money at the bottom of the last financial crisis, having previously started a company and run Omnicom's venture arm. He said his goal as an investor is to give clear feedback based on 25 years of helping people jump-start companies.

"I'm looking for people who feel driven to build what they are building and will work at learning all they can to make their idea real," Neumann said.

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90. Tim Kopp

Tim Kopp, the CEO of Terminus and a general partner of Hyde Park Venture Partners.
Terminus

Title: CEO, Terminus; general partner, Hyde Park Venture Partners

City: Carmel, Indiana

Notable seed investments: DemandJump, Emplify, G2, Lessonly, Terminus

Hyde Park Venture Partners is one of the most active venture firms in the Great Lakes region, with partners in Chicago and Indianapolis scouring the middle of the country for hot deals.

These days, Kopp is working overtime as a partner and a startup executive. In 2019, Terminus, an enterprise marketing company, tapped the investor-director to take over as CEO.

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89. Drew Houston

Drew Houston, the cofounder and CEO of Dropbox.
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Title: Cofounder and CEO, Dropbox

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Convoy, Cruise, Gem, Mixhalo, Triplebyte, Vurb

Dropbox is one of the most successful companies ever funded by Y Combinator, and now its cofounder and CEO is putting other entrepreneurs on the path to success as an angel investor.

Houston focuses on software-enabled businesses and has already nabbed an exit with the acquisition of Vurb, a recommendation-and-search app, by Snapchat for $100 million.

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88. Jerry Yang

Jerry Yang, a founder and partner at AME Cloud Ventures.
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Title: Founder and partner, AME Cloud Ventures

City: Palo Alto, California

Notable seed investments: GrubMarket, Osaro, Rakuten Ready, Savioke, Zendrive

For his second act as a venture capitalist, Yang is focused on investing in data-driven companies.

Despite spending most of his career in consumer technology, Yang got interested in the "big data" space after Yahoo, the company he cofounded, made an investment in the Hadoop startup Hortonworks and he saw the massive potential of data-analytics technologies, Yang previously told Insider.

Now his venture firm bets on companies building infrastructure and value chains around data.

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87. Haim Sadger

Haim Sadger, a founding partner of S Capital VC.
S Capital VC

Title: Founder and partner, S Capital VC

City: Tel Aviv, Israel

Notable seed investments: Amobee, Capitolis, Contendo, Lemonade, Pecan, Solt, Wilocity

In 1999, Sequoia Capital hired Sadger to set up a subsidiary in Israel, where he had opened an office for Intel's investment arm. Through his efforts, Sequoia has become one of the most active venture firms in the country's startup ecosystem, according to PitchBook data.

Sadger, who also invests out of his own firm, S Capital, said there is no singular quality he looks for in a potential investment. Startups, he said, "do not come in one color or shape."

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86. Bill Tai

Bill Tai, an angel investor and founder of Actai Global.
Bill Tai

Title: Angel investor and founder, Actai Global

City: Palo Alto, California

Notable seed investments: Canva, Color, Dapper Labs, TweetDeck, Wish, Zoom

Tai said the most important quality he looks for in a founder is "great judgment."

The venture capitalist and kiteboarding enthusiast has also shown great judgment over three decades of investing. Tai says he was the first investor in Zoom, whose market cap has increased tenfold, to $100 billion, since its initial public offering in 2019.

He's backed 23 early-stage companies that grew to become publicly traded, and he's continued to support founders by serving at times on eight public-company boards from his portfolio.

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85. Amish Jani

Amish Jani, the founder and managing director of FirstMark.
FirstMark

Title: Founder and managing director, FirstMark

City: New York

Notable seed investments: Bluecore, Bonusly, Guru, InVision, Optimus Ride, Starry

Jani cut his teeth at a prominent hedge fund before it spun out the venture arm into its own company, called FirstMark. He raised the first fund at the end of the last recession and, alongside his partner Rick Heitzmann, grew the firm into New York's preeminent early-stage firm.

Now FirstMark has its own blank-check company to buy a startup and take it public.

"We uniquely support and serve on the boards of companies from our entry at the seed all the way into the public markets," Jani said. "It's an incredible privilege to help businesses with the different range of challenges they face on that journey."

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84. Marc Andreessen

Marc Andreessen, a cofounder and general partner at Andreessen Horowitz.
Justin Sullivan/Getty

Title: Cofounder and general partner, Andreessen Horowitz

City: Menlo Park, California

Notable seed investments: Asana, Business Insider, Pinterest, Slack, Skype

Andreessen's venture firm has shifted away from its almost exclusive focus on early-stage software deals, but it continues to invest in the best companies regardless of stage.

An inventor of the first widely used web browser, Andreessen serves on the board of companies including Applied Intuition, Carta, Dialpad, Facebook, and Samara.

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83. Alfred Lin

Alfred Lin, a partner at Sequoia Capital.
Sequoia Capital

Title: Partner, Sequoia Capital

City: Menlo Park, California

Notable seed investments: Airbnb, Appbistro, Faire, Jelli, OpenTable, Uber, Zipline

Before he became an investor, Lin was the highest-ranking executive at Zappos other than Tony Hsieh when it sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion. He left the online retailer to join Sequoia, where he is perhaps best known for persuading the firm to lead Airbnb's seed round.

Lin is an applied mathematician and statistician by training and enjoys geeking out on metrics.

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82. Chris Sacca

Chris Sacca, the chairman and managing director of Lowercase Capital and Lowercarbon Capital.
Lowercarbon Capital

Title: Chairman and managing director, Lowercase Capital and Lowercarbon Capital

City: Jackson, Wyoming

Notable seed investments: Instagram, Optimizely, Tala, Twilio, Twitter, Uber

Sacca has come out of retirement to invest in companies that are saving the world, literally.

His new firm, Lowercarbon Capital, backs startups working to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. The clean-tech sector is expected to bloom this year as major corporations and governments pledge to lower their emissions and some turn to startups for green solutions.

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81. Thomas Lehrman

Thomas Lehrman, a managing partner at Teamworthy Ventures.
Teamworthy Ventures

Title: Managing partner, Teamworthy Ventures

City: New York

Notable seed investments: Factual, Greenhouse Software, Grovo, Maven Clinic, Smarterer

Lehrman's path to venture investing was atypical. He started his career as a financial analyst but took a detour working in the State Department's group on weapons of mass destruction. He also spent three years at the helm of Gerson Lehrman Group, a consulting firm he cofounded.

Now Lehrman works shoulder-to-shoulder with founders building software companies.

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80. Jonah Goodhart

Jonah Goodhart, a cofounder of WGI Group and the cofounder and CEO of Moat.
Jonah Goodhart

Title: Cofounder, WGI Group; cofounder and CEO, Moat

City: New York

Notable seed investments: Beeswax, Clay Software, David Energy, Memo, mParticle, SafeGraph, Saturn

Goodhart is well known as the first investor in Right Media, an ads business that sold to Yahoo for $680 million in 2007. The monster exit gave him the personal funds to seed an investment fund started with his brother, Noah Goodhart, and the founder and CEO of Right Media, Michael Walrath. Together, they've invested in more than 60 internet companies.

Goodhart said the most important quality he looks for in an investment is "the right culture."

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79. Ali Partovi

Ali Partovi, the founder and CEO of Neo.
Ali Partovi

Title: Founder and CEO, Neo

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Clara Foods, Convoy, DeepScale, Nervana, VigLink

Partovi's Neo is a community of tech leaders who offer mentorship to brilliant young engineers, in the hopes that they will someday build their own transformational technologies. In 2018, the company raised a debut fund totaling $80 million to back those future entrepreneurs.

Before Neo, Partovi cofounded the internet ad business LinkExchange, which he sold to Microsoft.

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78. Jeff Kearl

Jeff Kearl, a managing director of Pelion Venture Partners.
Jeff Kearl

Title: Managing director, Pelion Venture Partners

City: San Clemente, California

Notable seed investments: Away, Domo, Dynamic Signal, Just Water, Omniture, Skullcandy

Kearl is a strategic investor for any consumer business because of his domain expertise. He turned socks into a global retail empire with his company Stance, last valued at $400 million.

In 2019, Kearl left Stance to pursue investing full time at Pelion Venture Partners, where he opened an office near Los Angeles and now scours the area for the coolest startups.

"I try to be the investor I always wanted when I was an entrepreneur," Kearl said.

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77. Amitt Mahajan

Amitt Mahajan, a cofounder and managing partner at Presence Capital.
Twitter/@amittm

Title: Cofounder and managing partner, Presence Capital

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Airtable, Carnivore, Hipmunk, Luxe, UploadVR

Mahajan is the ultimate investor for a gaming founder who wants industry experts at the table.

In 2009, he sold his company to Zynga, and its software laid the foundation for Farmville. He stayed on for two years, becoming a director of engineering and then the chief technical officer for Zynga Japan.

Mahajan worked at three more startups before setting aside his entrepreneurial pursuits to become a full-time investor focused on virtual-reality and augmented-reality companies.

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76. Steve Anderson

Steve Anderson, a founder and partner at Baseline Ventures.
Baseline Ventures

Title: Founder and partner, Baseline Ventures

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Apiary, Dishcraft Robotics, Dusty Robotics, Instagram, Path

Anderson is known as a "one-man deal machine." The first investor in Instagram, he had a 12% ownership stake in the photo app when it sold to Facebook for $1 billion. Since then, Anderson has crafted his one-partner venture firm into one of the most successful investment companies.

Before Baseline, Anderson was a partner at Kleiner Perkins and a senior director at Microsoft.

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75. Eytan Elbaz

Eytan Elbaz, the cofounder and chief strategy officer of Social Native.
Eytan Elbaz

Title: Cofounder and chief strategy officer, Social Native

City: Los Angeles

Notable seed investments: Anduril, AppOnboard, Climate Corporation, FabFitFun, Ordermark

Before he was an investor, Elbaz and his brother, Gil, built a company they later sold to Google that laid the groundwork for Google AdSense, which helps websites earn money on ads.

Elbaz is also a seed investor in two other companies he helped start: Scopely, a mobile-games company, and Social Native, a marketplace for brands to discover content creators.

Elbaz's advice for aspiring investors at the seed stage is to "invest in industries you understand well" and to "make sure you love the founder much or more than the business itself."

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74. Max Levchin

Max Levchin, the founder and CEO of Affirm.
Affirm

Title: Founder and CEO, Affirm

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: ClearTax, SmartThings, Vurb, WePay, Zendrive

Levchin is a member of the "PayPal Mafia," a group of famous founders who all worked at the payments company. Now he's using his wealth to give others a shot at building their own successful businesses. The newly minted billionaire invests at all stages, but Levchin's sweet spot is seed-stage companies in consumer internet, payments, security, and marketplaces.

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73. David Beisel

David Beisel, a cofounder and partner of NextView Ventures.
NextView Ventures

Title: Cofounder and partner, NextView Ventures

City: Boston

Notable seed investments: Attentive, The Nudge, Parsec, ThredUp, TripleLift

Beisel has spent his career focused on early-stage internet startups. He started an email-marketing company during the dot-com era that sold to About.com in 2002.

He became an investor focused on the early days of company-building because, he said, "I just love the beginning and want to be a part of it over and over again."

"Previously a founder myself, I see my primary role as a true thought partner to help entrepreneurs find product-market fit," he said.

At NextView Ventures, he leads or coleads only two or three deals a year, according to the firm's website, ensuring a hands-on approach in every company he's invested in.

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72. Naval Ravikant

Naval Ravikant, the cofounder and chairman of AngelList.
Noam Galai/Getty Images

Title: Cofounder and chairman, AngelList

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: ClearTax, Optimizely, Postmates, Uber, Wish

Ravikant is a prolific early-stage investor with over 150 investments, including more than a few with valuations above $1 billion. Still, his greatest contribution to the ecosystem is starting AngelList, a website that connects companies that need funding with individual investors.

The website has been credited with removing the friction for angel investors to find and get into deals.

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71. Garry Tan

Garry Tan, a cofounder and managing partner of Initialized Capital.
Garry Tan

Title: Cofounder and managing partner, Initialized Capital

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Coinbase, Flexport, Instacart, Patreon, Standard

Initialized Capital is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the seed-stage investing arena, in large part thanks to Tan, a designer, engineer, and founder turned investor.

He's well known for writing the first check to Coinbase. When the startup's founders needed more working capital in the early days, he wrote to investors to raise the Series A.

Tan's advice for people looking to break into seed-stage investing is to identify "great builders."

"You can tell a lot more about whether someone is a good engineer and designer by trying and using their product than you can by looking at their résumé," Tan said.

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70. Morgan Flager

Morgan Flager, a managing partner at Silverton Partners.
Silverton Partners

Title: Managing partner, Silverton Partners

City: Austin, Texas

Notable seed investments: Aceable, Convey, SourceDay, TrendKite, Wheel

Flager joined Silverton Partners, an early-stage venture firm based in Austin, as a principal and has climbed the ranks over the past decade to become a managing partner.

He's focused on investments in clean tech, consumer, mobile, and enterprise software, and his portfolio reveals a bias for companies headquartered in the booming tech hub of Austin.

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69. Aileen Lee

Aileen Lee, the founder and managing partner of Cowboy Ventures.
Cowboy Ventures

Title: Founder and managing partner, Cowboy Ventures

City: Palo Alto, California

Notable seed investments: August Home, Dollar Shave Club, Drop, Rent the Runway, Rise

After 13 years at Kleiner Perkins, Lee started her own firm in 2012 so she could spend less time on partner meetings and politics and more time working shoulder to shoulder with founders.

Cowboy Ventures, which has $195 million in assets under management, according to PitchBook data, is widely considered one of the first women-founded venture firms. The firm prefers to lead or colead seed rounds up to $5 million for software-powered tech companies.

Lee is also a cofounder of AllRaise, a nonprofit organization focused on adding more female investors to the ecosystem and accelerating the success of female founders.

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68. Chip Hazard

Chip Hazard, a cofounder and general partner of Flybridge.
Flybridge

Title: Cofounder and general partner, Flybridge

City: New York

Notable seed investments: Apostrophe, Feature Labs, Firebase, MongoDB, Redox, Scitara, StackHawk, Stormpath

Hazard — the venture investor, not to be confused with the cartoon villain of the same name — was a general partner at Greylock who left in 2002 to spin up his own venture fund, Flybridge.

He knows the importance of partnering with founders early. "Seed-stage company-building is all about getting the foundation right," Hazard said — everything from the team to the go-to-market strategy.

He also cuts checks out of XFactor Ventures, a Flybridge fund focused on investing in female founders and mixed-gender teams "attacking billion-dollar market opportunities."

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67. Benjamin Ling

Benjamin Ling, a general partner at Bling Capital.
Bling Capital

Title: General partner, Bling Capital

Location: Miami

Notable seed investments: GitLab, PagerDuty, Rippling, Sprout Therapy, Tempo, Udemy, Webflow

Ling is a founding general partner at Bling Capital, a VC firm focused on seed and Series A investments.

Previously, he was a general partner at Khosla Ventures, where he led investments in Wattpad, Tapingo, GitLab, TrueAccord, Webflow, and many others.

Ling has served in senior operating roles at Google, YouTube, and Facebook. He also is an active angel investor with early stakes in Airtable, Lyft, Square, Palantir, Quora, Gusto, Udemy, and others.

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66. Ashmeet Sidana

Ashmeet Sidana, the chief engineer at Engineering Capital.
Engineering Capital

Title: Chief engineer, Engineering Capital

Location: Menlo Park, California

Notable seed investments: Auditoria, Azure Power, Kentik, Menlo Security, Robust Intelligence, SignalFx

Sidana is the chief engineer of Engineering Capital, a seed-stage VC firm for engineers. His previous investments include Palerra, which was acquired by Oracle; FreeWheel, which was acquired by Comcast; Appurify, which was acquired by Google; and PrivateCore, which was acquired by Facebook.

"I specialize in being the first investor in companies taking technical risk as compared to traditional VCs who focus mainly on market risk/traction," Sidana told Insider.

Earlier in his career, Sidana worked at VMware, where he ran product management, and at Hewlett-Packard and Silicon Graphics as an engineer.

"Venture is a business that is simple but not easy," he said. "There is no hidden secret to making great investments — invest in large markets, great founders, breakthrough technologies."

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65. Kaitlyn Doyle

Kaitlyn Doyle, an investor at TechNexus Venture Collaborative.
LinkedIn/Kaitlyn Doyle

Title: Investor, TechNexus Venture Collaborative

Location: Chicago

Notable seed investments: Catalyst OrthoScience, MarginEdge, The Mom Project, The Renewal Workshop, ShotTracker

As the director of "venturing" at TechNexus Venture Collaborative, Doyle assists in sourcing, due diligence, post-investment collaboration, deal syndication, and venture operations.

Before TechNexus, Doyle was an early employee at IrishAngels, an angel network affiliated with Notre Dame. She helped to grow the network to over 200 individual investors and 30-plus investments.

A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Doyle specializes in finance and entrepreneurship. Outside work, she can be found running on the Lake Shore path, reading a new book, or playing with her golden retriever.

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64. Leo Polovets

Leo Polovets, a general partner at Susa Ventures.
Susa Ventures

Title: General partner, Susa Ventures; software engineer

Location: Portland, Oregon

Notable seed investments: Outlier, Pex, Scalyr, and Stedi

Polovets has led the Susa Ventures' investments in dozens of companies, including Outlier, Pex, Scalyr, and Stedi.

Before Susa, Polovets was the second engineering hire at LinkedIn, where he helped to build the first versions of products like Jobs and Groups. Earlier in his career, he was a software engineer at Google.

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63. Jeff Seibert

Jeff Seibert, a cofounder of Digits.
Jeff Seibert

Title: Cofounder, Digits

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Desktop Metal, Gusto, Notarize, Opendoor

As an angel investor, Seibert has invested in over 50 startups, including Planet Labs, Opendoor, and SoFi.

"I've found that most early-stage companies generally need help in a few key areas: shaping their initial product, plotting their Series A funding, and evaluating potential M&A opportunities. So I tend to dive deep with the founders when they're focused on those topics," Seibert told Insider.

"Seed investing is all about getting access to the right deals before anyone else notices, before anyone else knows what's up, and before the founders have proven enough to become an obvious investment opportunity," Seibert said.

He previously served as Twitter's head of consumer product, leading its product efforts across iOS, Android, and the web, as well as its developer and data platforms.

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62. Adrian Aoun

Adrian Aoun, the founder and CEO of Forward.
Adrian Aoun

Title: Founder and CEO, Forward.

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: ClassPass, Convoy, Everlane, Modern Health, Opendoor, Pinterest, Wish

As the founder and CEO of Forward, Aoun has made it his mission to help personalize healthcare through AI technology. Along his path working in healthcare and at Google, Aoun has been an active angel investor in companies such as Everlane, Pinterest, and Clara Health. But at his core, Aoun is an operator.

"Unlike professional investors who potentially haven't operated in decades, I like to be hands-on and as involved as the company would like me to be," Aoun told Insider.

"I'm also very technical. I love to focus and get involved in a company's most pivotal moments — a strategic hire, fundraise, or big product decision — all of which are pivotal moments that can take a company's direction in one of many ways," Aoun said.

In 2015, he was involved with the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

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61. Mitchel Laskey

Mitchel Laskey, a cofounder and managing partner of DeepWork Capital.
DeepWork Capital

Title: Cofounder and managing partner, DeepWork Capital

City: Orlando, Florida

Notable seed investments: AireHealth, Homee, Streann Media

Laskey is the cofounder and managing general partner of DeepWork Capital, an early-stage VC firm managing funds that invest in high-growth companies in the technology or life-science sectors.

He is also on the board of directors of Cogent Bank and was a cofounder of CNLBank, which was acquired by Valley National Bancorp in 2015.

Laskey's bio on DeepWork's website says he enjoys Peloton competition, golfing, skiing, and spending time with his four grandchildren.

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60. Lauren DeLuca

Lauren DeLuca, a managing partner at Motivate Venture Capital.
LinkedIn/Lauren DeLuca

Title: Founder and managing partner, Motivate Venture Capital

City: Chicago

Notable seed investments: Chime, Conservation Labs, Gatsby, Home Chef, Popular Pays, TradingView

DeLuca cofounded Motivate Venture Capital with David Wieland in 2019, a $43 million fund. It invests in early-stage fintech, HR-tech, and ed-tech startups.

DeLuca was a managing partner at Lakepoint Ventures for 14 years, having invested in Chime, TradingView, and Home Chef.

DeLuca told Insider that his best advice for an aspiring investor who wants to break into seed funding is to "understand your precise value-add and be honest about it."

"Then work your tail off to deliver on commitments," he continued. "That will make you invaluable to startups and co-investors alike, which will invariably beget more investment opportunities for you."

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59. Jeremy Yap

Jeremy Yap, a board advisor at TravelBank.
YouTube/Slush

Title: Board advisor, TravelBank

City: London

Notable seed investments: Amino Apps, Azimo, Maven Clinic, Meero, Monzo

Yap is an accomplished angel investor whose investments span companies in Europe, Israel, and North America. Among them are Citymapper, Monzo, Maven Clinic, and GoTenna. He previously held positions at Merrill Lynch and was a lieutenant in the Singapore Armed Forces.

Yap is also a board member of AgSquared, is an advisor for Golden Gate Ventures, and is on the advisory board for Cendana Capital.

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58. Mike Dodd

Mike Dodd, a general partner at Silverton Partners.
Silverton Partners

Title: General partner, Silverton Partners

City: Austin, Texas

Notable seed investments: Apprentice.io, Billie, Figg, Kazoo, Khoros, Liquidity Services, MapMyFitness, Ontic, Restream

As a general partner of Silverton Partners, Dodd has focused his investments on tech startups, which he's had experience with for over 20 years. Before Silverton, Dodd was a partner at Austin Ventures, where he also focused on tech startups in the enterprise and consumer spaces.

"Persistence, curiosity, and determination are the most important qualities I look for in an early-stage founder," Dodd told Insider. "Rarely do they get it exactly right the first time, so they have to be persistent. Strong curiosity pushes them to be a student of markets and business models, which will likely be needed to evolve their company. And determination almost to the point of absurdity is often necessary to make a startup work."

Dodd also serves as a board member for companies such as Ontic Technologies, Claravine, and Apprentice.io.

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57. David Tisch

David Tisch, a managing partner at BoxGroup.
BoxGroup

Title: Managing partner, BoxGroup

City: New York

Notable seed investments: Airtable, Blue Apron, Flatiron Health, Kustomer, PillPack, Plaid, Ramp, RigUp, Ro, Scopely

Tisch is the managing partner of BoxGroup, a seed-stage venture-capital firm that has invested in over 250 companies such as Blue Apron, Warby Parker, Clubhouse, and Glossier. Investing runs in Tisch's family — his grandfather, Laurence Tisch, was a longtime Wall Street investor and part owner of Loews Corp.

Tisch also is a cofounder of the accelerator program TechStars NYC and the chairman of Good Dog, an app for people to connect with dog breeders and shelters.

"We look for wildly ambitious founders who have a unique insight into a market they get us excited about," Tisch said. "We seek founders who we can envision inspiring great people to join their company and help build the vision. Determination and ambition are the most important qualities a founder can have early on."

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56. Henry McNamara

Henry McNamara, a partner at Great Oaks Venture Capital.
Henry McNamara

Title: Partner, Great Oaks Venture Capital

City: New York

Notable seed investments: Allbirds, Bolt, EquipmentShare, Fetch Rewards, Maven Clinic, RigUp, Vise

In just eight years at Great Oaks Venture Capital, McNamara has risen from analyst to principal to partner. McNamara's investments with Great Oaks have ranged from finance (Acorns) to healthcare (Virta Health) to retail (Allbirds).

McNamara said that the most important quality he looks for in a seed-stage startup founder is persistence.

"Inevitably there will be many dead ends, nos, disappointments, speed bumps, and challenges for any founder," he said.

"In order to break through, founders must not be deterred by rejection or long odds. Persistence is a necessary ingredient to be a founder," McNamara said. "Starting a company is not for the faint of heart!"

He is also a board member of Runway for Recovery, a nonprofit support fund for families affected by breast cancer.

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55. Ann Miura-Ko

Ann Miura-Ko, a cofounder and partner of Floodgate.
Floodgate

Title: Cofounding partner, Floodgate

City: Palo Alto, California

Notable seed investments: Bot MD, Lyft, Merlin Labs, ModCloth, Refinery29, Thinkful

As the cofounding partner of the seed-stage VC firm Floodgate, Miura-Ko has focused her investments in innovative companies in the e-commerce, radical-science, and big-data industries.

Miura-Ko's passion for technology started in her childhood, when her father was a rocket scientist at NASA, and continued as she studied at Yale, where she took part in robotics competitions around the world.

She is also a cosponsor of AI Grant, a nonprofit that funds work on open-source AI-technology research.

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54. Deborah Quazzo

Deborah Quazzo, a managing partner at GSV Ventures.
YouTube/SALT

Title: Managing partner, GSV Ventures

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Andela, BookClub, Chalk Talk Solutions, Fiveable, GoPeer, Gradescope, QuillBot

GSV Ventures, led by Quazzo, has focused on investments in companies in educational tech, an industry that has thrived during the past year as virtual learning took the place of in-person classes.

"As a sector investor, namely in ed tech, I try to be very hands-on with seed-stage entrepreneurs, whether it's testing go-to-market ideas or helping them secure initial customers or anticipating unexpected friction in the education sector," Quazzo told Insider. "I/we look for the five P's in a startup and startup founder: people, product, potential, predictability, and purpose."

In March, Quazzo and GSV announced that they had raised their second fund for $180 million to target more ed-tech startups.

Quazzo also is the cofounder of the ASU GSV Summit, a yearly seminar on education innovation.

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53. Jishnu Bhattacharjee

Jishnu Bhattacharjee, a managing director at Nexus Venture Partners.
Courtesy of Jishnu Bhattacharjee

Title: Managing director, Nexus Venture Partners

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: H2O.ai, Okera, Postman, Squadcast, Unmetric, WootCloud

Bhattacharjee is the managing director at Nexus Venture Partners. He was previously a founding team member at Scintera Networks, which sold to Maxim Integrated Products in 2014.

He has invested in companies like the enterprise startup H2O.ai, the data company Okera, and the developer platform Postman.

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52. Gale Wilkinson

Gale Wilkinson, a managing partner at Vitalize Venture Group.
LinkedIn/Gale Wilkinson

Title: Managing partner, Vitalize Venture Group

City: Chicago

Notable seed investments: Alembic, Chime, Catalyst OrthoScience, The Mom Project, TradingView

Wilkinson is the managing partner at Vitalize Venture Group, which runs two funding arms, VitalizeVC, a $16 million fund focused on scalable software companies, and IrishAngels, an angel network of 270 investors focused on B2B and B2C.

Read: Top seed investor Gale Wilkinson says her past failures as a founder help her coach her startups to succeed

Wilkinson's group, which she founded in 2012, has invested in over 70 companies and deployed $10 million each year. She is also a Kauffman fellow, helping to coach and mentor leaders in VC.

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51. Ilya Fushman

Ilya Fushman, a partner at Kleiner Perkins.
Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Title: Partner, Kleiner Perkins

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Fountain, Labelbox, Nova Credit, Productboard, Uberflip

Fushman grew up in four countries: Russia (the USSR at the time), Israel, Germany, and the US. It taught him a few lessons about venture.

"Building companies isn't dissimilar to taking immigration-scale risks," he's quoted as saying on Kleiner Perkins' website. "It's all about a leap of faith, starting fresh, and the willingness to go all in on your ideas."

Fushman is now a partner at Kleiner Perkins. He was previously a general partner at Index Ventures and the head of product at Dropbox.

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50. Ed Sim

Ed Sim, the founder and managing partner of Boldstart Ventures.
Courtesy of Ed Sim

Title: Founder and managing partner, Boldstart Ventures

City: Montclair, New Jersey

Notable seed investments: BigID, Front, Kustomer, SecurityScorecard, Snyk, Superhuman

Sim is the founder and managing partner of Boldstart Ventures, an early-stage firm investing in enterprise and software-as-a-service startups.

He said that creating technologies in SaaS can be incredibly difficult, so he tries to be a cheerleader for founders when things get hard.

"Founders need a true believer in their corner to cheer them in the tough times, challenge them in the best, and chill when they need to get work done," Sim said. "The emotional aspects of the founder journey are just as important as the technical ones."

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49. Stuart Ellman

Stuart Ellman, the founding partner of RRE Ventures.
Courtesy of Stuart Ellman

Title: Founding partner of RRE Ventures

City: New York

Notable seed investments: Giphy, Players' Lounge, Ready Robotics, Relationship Science, Thinkful

Ellman likes to be a founder's first call when there's a problem.

"I see my role as a mentor and advisor to young CEOs," he said. "I believe I know how much to help while not being intrusive."

Ellman is a founding partner at RRE Ventures, one of the largest and oldest VC firms in New York City. He's been among the first investors in companies like the GIF startup Giphy and the enterprise company Stella Connect. He was also an investor in Insider (then Business Insider) before the company sold to Axel Springer in 2015.

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48. Bryan Rosenblatt

Bryan Rosenblatt, a principal at Craft Ventures.
Craft Ventures

Title: Principal, Craft Ventures

City: New York

Notable seed investments: Citizen, Dapper Labs, Joe Coffee, Kapwing, Lambda School, Superplastic

Rosenblatt is the lone investor at Craft Ventures — the firm started by David Sacks — who's based in New York, where he's tasked with growing the firm's East Coast portfolio. Before Craft, Rosenblatt was hired by Reddit to run the New York office and its brand-partnerships team.

Rosenblatt said he got into investing because he enjoys being in the trenches with founders.

"I like to know what's going well and what's not — no sugarcoating required," he said. "It makes me nervous if there's nothing that needs fixing, nothing that's going poorly."

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47. Seth Berman

Seth Berman, a general partner at Susa Ventures.
Susa Ventures

Title: General partner, Susa Ventures

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Expanse, Mux, Rigetti Computing, Viz, Vurb

Berman is a cofounder of Susa Ventures — an early investor in Robinhood — where he focuses on companies making waves in frontier tech, logistics, marketplaces, and consumer.

Before Susa, Berman was the vice president of marketing at the Swiss luxury-goods holding company Richemont, which owns brands like Cartier, Net-a-Porter, and Montblanc.

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46. Ryan Moore

Ryan Moore, the founder of Accomplice.
Twitter/@rm_acc

Title: Founder, Accomplice

City: Boston

Notable seed investments: DraftKings, Drizly, HqO, Clypd, Ocean Freight Exchange

For DraftKings' first two years, Moore was the only institutional investor. The sports-betting company would go on to raise $719.4 million and go public via a special-purpose acquisition company in 2020.

It was one of many big wins for Moore. He's the founder of Accomplice, a Boston firm investing in tech companies. It's invested early in startups like Drizly, which Uber recently bought for $1.1 billion, and the advertising platform Clypd.

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45. Tom Williams

Angel investor and rolling funds operator Tom Williams
Christopher Michael

Title: Entrepreneur

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Aspect Biosystems, Brightwheel, Glowforge, Grove Collaborative

Williams has earned a reputation as a prolific angel investor, getting in on deals like the ed-tech company Brightwheel and the 3D-printing startup Glowforge.

His advice for aspiring seed investors? Work as an early employee at both a successful and a failed startup.

"You will never develop empathy for a founder if you haven't worked to support one or more founders," he said. "Without empathy, you are destined to be commodity capital."

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44. Daniel Gross

Daniel Gross, the founder of Pioneer.
Pioneer

Title: Founder, Pioneer

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Cruise, Embark Trucks, Lattice, Rippling, Triplebyte

At 23, Gross sold a personal-assistant app he had created to Apple and joined the tech giant to work on machine learning. The experience taught him the importance of having people who believed in him by his side, and it inspired him to start Pioneer, a new kind of startup accelerator.

Unlike other incubators, Pioneer takes on founders without full-fledged business ideas. It also embraced a remote-first approach long before the start of the pandemic.

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43. Howard Morgan

Howard Morgan, the chairman of B Capital Group.
B Capital Group

Title: Chairman, B Capital Group

City: New York

Notable seed investments: Abra, Augury, DogVacay, Gem, Numerai

Morgan, a cofounder of First Round Capital, is a mentor to some of the investors on this list.

He's been seeding young companies for about four decades, ever since he left academia to join a prominent hedge fund in the early 1980s. Now Morgan is the chairman of B Capital Group, a venture firm started and funded in part by Eduardo Saverin, one of the Facebook cofounders.

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42. Andy McLoughlin

Andy McLoughlin, a partner at Uncork Capital.
Uncork Capital

Title: Partner, Uncork Capital

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Calm, Coder, Crossbeam, Human Interest, Intercom, Postmates

Focused on enterprise-software businesses, McLoughlin has a knack for investing in companies that may seem unsexy but create lasting value for their customers. Before Uncork Capital, he started a business-to-business software startup called Huddle, which he sold in 2017.

McLoughlin said his advice to aspiring seed investors is to, if they can, start a business first.

"The hard lessons learnt firsthand during those first two or three years will serve you well as you seek to advise the next generation of entrepreneurs," McLoughlin said.

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41. Charlie Songhurst

Charlie Songhurst, the founding partner of Katana Capital.
LinkedIn/Charlie Songhurst

Title: Founding partner, Katana Capital

City: Kirkland, Washington

Notable seed investments: Bear Robotics, Cera, ClassPass, Convoy, Rigetti Computing

Songhurst is a veteran executive of Microsoft, where he led corporate strategy and was closely involved in the search and online-advertising deal with Yahoo, as well as the Skype acquisition.

He has invested in nearly 500 companies, both public and private, throughout his career.

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40. Paul Buchheit

Paul Buchheit, a partner at Y Combinator.
Y Combinator

Title: Partner, Y Combinator

City: Mountain View, California

Notable seed investments: Boom, Brex, Cruise, DoorDash, Front, Gusto, Instacart, Justin.tv, Lambda School, Rappi, Relativity Space, Stripe

Buchheit has been credited with creating Google's original motto, "Don't be evil." He was the 23rd employee at the company and is the creator of Gmail.

The rest of his career is just as impressive — he has been an angel investor in over 200 companies and is now a partner at Y Combinator. He's gotten in at the ground level for dream deals like DoorDash, Squire, and Stripe.

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39. Eric Kwan

Erik Kwan, a cofounder and managing partner of Locus Ventures.
Locus Ventures

Title: Cofounder and managing partner, Locus Ventures

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Ironclad, Meesho, Razorpay, Very Good Security, Whill

Facebook hired Kwan as a software engineer in 2007, and he worked on the social network's international expansion and language support during a period of rocketing growth.

Now Kwan invests in companies in Silicon Valley and Asia at Locus Ventures, an early-stage venture firm he started with former employees of Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Oracle.

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38. Ruchi Sanghvi

Ruchi Sanghvi, a partner at South Park Commons.
Ruchi Sanghvi

Title: Partner, South Park Commons

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Asana, ClearTax, Forethought, Nervana, Pilot

Hired at 23 as the first female engineer at Facebook, Sanghvi left the social network to start her own software company, called Cove, and sold it to Dropbox two years later.

Read: Facebook's first female engineer Ruchi Sanghvi is breaking the glass ceiling again as an angel investor and founder of an 'anti-accelerator'

Now she runs a community of founders, operators, and investors that describes itself as the "anti-incubator." South Park Commons helps people build and validate their business ideas, without the strict fundraising timelines or massive startup cohorts of a traditional accelerator.

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37. Kevin Colleran

John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Title: Managing director, Slow Ventures

City: Boston

Notable seed investments: Allbirds, Good Dog, Livongo, PillPack, Ro

Colleran is the investor who founders call when they need help selling themselves and their business vision to their team, potential investors, and customers. At 24 years old, he was hired by Facebook to build the internal ad business, and he laid the foundation for Facebook Pages.

In 2011, Colleran left as the longest-serving employee other than Mark Zuckerberg.

Now he's the cofounder of Slow Ventures, a venture firm started by ex-Facebook employees, where he helps founders navigate the early stages of business growth and fundraising.

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36. Jason Finger

Jason Finger, the chairman of Finger Group and Upper90 Capital Management.
Upper90

Title: Chairman, Finger Group and Upper90 Capital Management

City: Los Angeles

Notable seed investments: Betterment, Blue Apron, Clearbanc, Omaze, Procore Technologies, Zocdoc

If you've ordered from a food-delivery app, you can thank Finger. Online food delivery was basically unheard of in 1999 when Finger cofounded the ordering website Seamless Meals, later shortened to Seamless.

After selling the company in 2006, Finger turned his focus to the venture world, becoming the chairman of the venture firm Finger Group and Upper90 Capital Management.

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35. Keith Rabois

Keith Rabois, a general partner at Founders Fund.
TechCrunch Disrupt, Photo by Max Whittaker

Title: General partner, Founders Fund

City: Miami

Notable seed investments: Airbnb, DoorDash, Faire, Lyft, Wish

You might know Rabois from his campaign to move venture to Miami or his role in the PayPal Mafia — or perhaps you've heard some of his "contrarian" viewpoints.

Rabois, a general partner at Founders Fund, has backed more than a dozen unicorn startups. He previously told Insider that he tried to find companies other VCs wouldn't touch.

"When they pitch me, I ask myself the questions: What are other VCs not going to like about this? What are they not going to appreciate?" he said.

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34. Kevin Hartz

Kevin Hartz, the chairman and cofounder of Eventbrite.
Kevin Hartz

Title: Chairman and cofounder, Eventbrite

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Airbnb, PayPal, Pinterest

Hartz says the two most important qualities he looks for in a founder are intellect and hustle.

He knows something about hustling from starting the ticketing website Eventbrite and serving as its CEO for a decade. In 2016 he passed the reins to his cofounder and wife, Julia Hartz, so he could focus on investing. Now Hartz uses his insights to help others build companies.

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33. Micah Rosenbloom

Micah Rosenbloom, a managing partner at Founder Collective.
Founder Collective

Title: Managing partner, Founder Collective

City: New York

Notable seed investments: Ampleforth, Lovevery, Plated, SkipTheDishes, Transfix, Trusted Health

Rosenbloom thinks Hollywood and venture capital have a lot in common.

"Both tech and entertainment satisfy needs, mint celebrities, and can generate huge amounts of wealth," he said.

He would know — he worked for the Endeavor Talent Agency (the agency that partially inspired the hit show "Entourage") before diving into venture. He's now a managing partner at Founder Collective, investing in companies like the transportation startup Transfix and the cryptocurrency company Ampleforth.

As for whether he prefers Silicon Valley or Hollywood, the answer is clear.

"Tech isn't perfect, but the amount of permissionless innovation it enables makes it one of the most entertaining industries on the planet," he said.

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32. Michael Brown

Michael Brown, the founder and managing partner of Bowery Capital.
LinkedIn

Title: Founder and managing partner, Bowery Capital

City: New York

Notable seed investments: ActionIQ, Electric, Sailthru, Transfix, Zeus Living

Brown is the founder and managing partner at Bowery Capital. Previously he was a cofounder and general partner at AOL Ventures. Brown also serves on the board of directors of the National Forest Foundation.

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31. Kevin Mahaffey

Kevin Mahaffey, the founder of Lookout and chairman of Stork Club.
Courtesy of Kevin Mahaffey

Title: Founder, Lookout; chairman, Stork Club

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Airtable, Benchling, Lattice, People.ai, SendBird, Split Software

Mahaffey has been building software since he was 8 years old. He's come a long way, founding the cybersecurity company Lookout and becoming the chairman of Stork Club, a parental-benefits company.

Mahaffey's advice for seed investors? Trust your gut.

"Come to your own conclusion when deciding to invest in a company," he said. "At the early stage, signal from other investors is noisy at best."

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30. Michael Seibel

Michael Seibel, a managing director and group partner at Y Combinator.
Courtesy of Michael Seibel

Title: Managing director and group partner, Y Combinator

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Burrow, Cruise, Paystack, Transcelestial Technologies, Triplebyte

Seibel made headlines when he became the first Black member of Reddit's board, but his career has pretty much always been newsworthy. He cofounded Justin.tv, which became Twitch and then was acquired by Amazon for $970 million, and Socialcam, which sold to Autodesk for $60 million.

He's now a partner at the renowned Y Combinator, where he strives to be candid with founders.

"As a founder, I really appreciated blunt honesty," he said. "My goal when advising founders is to be as honest as possible."

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29. Josh Kopelman

Josh Kopelman, a founding partner at First Round Capital.
First Round Capital

Title: Founding partner, First Round Capital

City: Philadelphia

Notable seed investments: The Black Tux, Curalate, Drop, Snackpass, PandoDaily, Upstart

As a three-time founder, Kopelman knows "how lonely it can be," his bio says. He uses his experience to empathize and help other founders as a founding partner at First Round Capital.

He invested in the seed rounds of Upstart, the social food app Snackpass, and the tux-rental service The Black Tux.

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28. Scott Belsky

Scott Belsky, the chief product officer at Adobe.
Eric Einwiller

Title: Chief product officer, Adobe; executive vice president, Adobe Creative Cloud

City: New York

Notable seed investments: Airtable, Anchor, Carta, Flexport, Pinterest, Ro, Uber

When Adobe bought Belsky's startup, Behance, for a reported $150 million, half of his employees became millionaires. Belsky has become Adobe's chief product officer, the executive vice president of Adobe's Creative Cloud, and an incredibly successful seed investor.

Belsky says he looks for founders who are passionate but realistic.

"They are optimistic about the future but pessimistic enough about execution," he said. "And they are never ever satisfied with the current state of their product."

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27. Brian Matthews

Brian Matthews, a cofounder and general partner at Cultivation Capital.
Cultivation Capital

Title: Cofounder and general partner, Cultivation Capital

City: St. Louis

Notable seed investments: BenchmarkOne, Gainsight, Noonlight, Popwallet, TopOpps

When Matthews cofounded CDM Fantasy Sports, he kick-started a craze that would last for decades. CDM Fantasy Sports, one of the first major fantasy-sports companies, was eventually acquired by Fun Technologies in 2006.

Matthews later cofounded Cultivation Capital, an early-stage firm in St. Louis with about $223 million assets under management, according to Crunchbase.

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26. Darian Shirazi

Darian Shirazi, a general partner at Gradient Ventures.
Gradient Ventures

Title: General partner, Gradient Ventures

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Carbon Health, Collective, Contractbook, Loft Brazil, MainStreet, Mural, Udemy

Shirazi was among Facebook's first engineers. He's now a renowned investor, writing the first check for Carbon Health, a healthcare company that raised $100 million in its Series C round.

"My job as an investor is to be a confidant during tough and complex times," Shirazi said. "Great founders problem-solve continuously, and working through these problems with founders brings me joy."

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25. Brad Flora

Brad Flora, a group partner at Y Combinator.
YouTube/Mercury - Banking for Startups

Title: Group partner, Y Combinator

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Function of Beauty, Modern Health, Payfazz, Razorpay, Retool

When Flora sold his company, Perfect Audience, in 2014 for $25.5 million, he rushed to announce that he was "a new, minor footnote in the annals of Silicon Valley startup successes."

He would become not just a footnote but one of the most prolific seed investors in the business. Flora's now a group partner at the prestigious Y Combinator, where he loves discovering new talent.

"Seeing great founders come out of nowhere and use YC to build epic companies is a special thrill," he said.

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24. Avichal Garg

Avichal Garg, a cofounder and managing partner at Electric Capital.
Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Title: Cofounder and managing partner, Electric Capital

City: Stanford, California

Notable seed investments: Cruise, dYdX, Nova Credit, Optimizely, WayUp

When Garg was in grade school, his mom found hundreds of dollars shoved into his dresser. Garg said on the podcast "The Full Ratchet" that she was "probably worried I was selling drugs or something."

But Garg had programmed his calculator with homework answers and then sold the program to his peers. It was his first taste of the tech world. After that, Garg couldn't get enough.

He went on to work at Apple, Facebook, and Google before cofounding Electric Capital, an early-stage venture firm focused on crypto technologies and fintech.

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23. Phin Barnes

Phin Barnes, a partner at First Round Capital.
First Round Capital

Title: Partner, First Round Capital

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Blue Apron, Modern Fertility, SmartThings, Splice, Stedi

Barnes offered to work at First Round Capital for free, insisting that he "had no plans to become a partner," his bio on the website says.

But it turned out Barnes had a knack for investing, and his "summer apprentice" position turned into 11 years at the firm. He's now a partner, investing early in companies like the meal-kit service Blue Apron and the music company Splice.

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22. Andrew Mitchell

Andrew Mitchell, a general partner at Brand Foundry Ventures.
Andrew Mitchell / Twitter

Title: General partner, Brand Foundry Ventures

City: New York

Notable seed investments: Birchbox, Contently, DoubleDutch, Peloton, Stella Connect, Zozi

Mitchell has been cool since at least 2014, when Insider named him one of the coolest people in New York City tech.

That was right as he was leaving ZIG Capital to found Brand Foundry Ventures, an early-stage "consumer only" firm. Since then, he's invested in companies like the software startup DoubleDutch, the enterprise company Stella Connect, and Peloton.

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21. Gil Dibner

Gil Dibner, the founder and general partner of Angular Ventures.
Courtesy of Gil Dibner

Title: Founder and general partner, Angular Ventures

City: London

Notable seed investments: Aquant, Firebolt, Front, JFrog, Levity, Siemplify, Sisense, Snyk

Dibner's life has spanned three continents: He was raised in Boston and has invested from London and Tel Aviv.

As a founder and general partner at Angular Ventures, Dibner invests in early-stage startups throughout Europe and Israel. Dibner said his firm tends to back companies that "no one else wants to touch."

"The best venture outcomes typically look insane at the seed stage," he said. "If no one seems to get what you are doing or why it's a big deal, call us."

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20. Brad Svrluga

Brad Svrluga, a cofounder and general partner of Primary Venture Partners.
Courtesy of Brad Svrluga

Title: Cofounder and general partner, Primary Venture Partners

City: New York

Notable seed investments: Alloy, Divide, Electric, K Health, Kinetic, Latch, Pump Audio, Reonomy, Savored, Ticketfly, TxVia, Vestwell

Svrluga's first job was repairing wooden lobster traps. When the company failed to switch to wire traps, Svrluga learned his "first lesson in disruptive technology innovation," his bio says.

He's put this lesson to good use as a cofounder and general partner at Primary Venture Partners. He led many of his firm's investments, including in Divide and TxVia, which both sold to Google.

"Seed is so much about sourcing great founders and opportunities at the earliest days, often before the companies are even formed," Svrluga said to Insider.

"The best thing you can do if you want to break into the business is relentlessly network with great founders-to-be and get in with them as they're just getting started," Svruga said.

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19. Bill Trenchard

Bill Trenchard, a partner at First Round Capital.
First Round Capital

Title: Partner, First Round Capital

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Flexport, Looker, Superhuman, Uber, Verkada

Trenchard understands what founders go through because he's been one — five times. He founded companies including Liveops and Jump Networks, which was acquired by Microsoft.

Now he helps founders as a partner at First Round Capital. Trenchard says he likes to work "intensely" with founders, checking up on them with weekly calls or texts.

"My favorite part of it is being the coach," he said. "I love coaching and helping founders that I believe in achieve what they are capable of achieving."

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18. Gaurav Jain

Gaurav Jain, a cofounder and managing partner at Afore Capital.
Courtesy of Gaurav Jain

Title: Cofounder and managing partner, Afore Capital

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Cruise, Firebase, Flatfile, Modern Health, Petal, Socure

Afore Capital's website gives visitors a warning: "Partnering with Afore may greatly increase your chance of kicking ass."

Jain has the track record to back it up. He invested in the seed rounds of Modern Health, a recent unicorn; Cruise, a self-driving-vehicle company; and Petal, a fintech startup.

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17. Itamar Novick

Itamar Novick, a managing partner at Recursive Ventures and the chief business officer at Life360.
Courtesy of Itamar Novick

Title: Managing partner, Recursive Ventures; chief business officer, Life360

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Abra, Armory, Cherre, Credible, Deel, Life360, May Mobility, SafeGraph, Tile, Placer.ai

Novick is the managing partner at Recursive Ventures and the chief business officer at Life360, a family-oriented technology startup. He's a prolific seed investor, backing companies such as the student-loan startup Credible, the self-driving-car company May Mobility, and the cryptocurrency startup Abra.

Novick said aspiring seed investors should learn to think long term.

"If you are risking your own capital, you should have confidence in your ability to sustain a 10-to-15-year cycle with very little or no liquidity," Novick said.

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16. Wesley Chan

Wesley Chan, a managing director at Felicis Ventures.
Courtesy of Wesley Chan

Title: Managing director, Felicis Ventures

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Astranis, Checkr, Flexport, Gusto, HelloSign, Parse, Plaid, Robinhood, SkipTheDishes, Vungle, Zipline

If you've ever used Google, then you're familiar with Chan's work. He was at the company for 14 years, founding Google Analytics and Google Voice and building out its early advertising products.

Chan was also a general partner at Google Ventures, where he wrote the first institutional check for the fintech unicorn Plaid. He's now a managing director at Felicis Ventures.

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15. Brian Spaly

Brian Spaly, a general partner at Brand Foundry Ventures.
Brian Spaly

Title: General partner, Brand Foundry Ventures

City: Chicago

Notable seed investments: Blitsy, The Bouqs Company, Bucketfeet, Happy Returns, Koio

Spaly started his career by sewing pants. While he was getting his MBA at Stanford, he founded the apparel company Bonobos, originally sewing the pants himself.

After Bonobos' sale to Walmart in 2017, Spaly served as the executive chairman of the clothing company Tecovas before becoming a general partner at Brand Foundry Ventures. He's since invested in companies such as the flower-delivery service The Bouqs Company, the e-commerce startup Happy Returns, and the luxury sneaker brand Koio.

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14. Auren Hoffman

Auren Hoffman, the CEO of SafeGraph.
Courtesy of Auren Hoffman

Title: CEO, SafeGraph

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: BrightRoll, Dynamic Yield, Euclid, Factual, Figure Eight, Klout

You know you've made it when you're sitting across from Hoffman and Peter Thiel, plotting how to change the world. It's a real thing — Hoffman and Thiel created the Dialog Retreat, where global leaders discuss the state of the planet (by invitation, of course).

Hoffman, now the CEO of the data company SafeGraph, previously cofounded LiveRamp, which sold to Acxiom for $310 million. He's prolific angel investor, investing in the advertising company BrightRoll, the enterprise startup Dynamic Yield, and the data company Euclid.

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13. Jon Soberg

Jon Soberg, a managing partner at MS&AD Ventures.
Courtesy of Jon Soberg

Title: Managing partner, MS&AD Ventures

City: Palo Alto, California

Notable seed investments: Addepar, Braze, Mercury, Parse.ly, Reef Technology, True Link Financial, Trulioo

Soberg is truly a global investor, with over 120 investments across five continents. But Soberg is still hands-on with his portfolio companies.

"I like to be the first call when a company needs help," he said.

After making a seed investment in Reef Technology, Soberg even took on the role of chief operating officer to help build out its products. He is now a managing partner at MS&AD Ventures.

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12. Kirsten Green

Kirsten Green, a founding partner at Forerunner Ventures.
Courtesy of Kirsten Green

Title: Founding partner, Forerunner Ventures

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Chime, Dollar Shave Club, Faire, Glossier, Hims, HotelTonight, The Yes

Before Green founded Forerunner Ventures, she had never worked at a traditional venture-capital firm, founded a company, or gone to business school.

"I had a lot of people looking at me like I was crazy," Green said.

Read: Inside Kirsten Green's rise from accountant to unicorn investor of brands like Warby Parker and Dollar Shave Club

But her gamble paid off: She's since invested in six unicorn startups.

Green was among the first investors in companies like the makeup juggernaut Glossier, Dollar Shave Club, and the wholesale marketplace Faire.

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11. Michael Dearing

Michael Dearing, the founder of Harrison Metal.
Harrison Metal

Title: Founder, Harrison Metal

City: Jackson, Wyoming

Notable seed investments: Grand Rounds, Guild Education, Harry's, PagerDuty, Signal Sciences

Dearing is as much a teacher as he is a VC. He taught engineering at Stanford for eight years before founding Harrison Metal, an early-stage firm where he teaches business administration to founders he invests in.

Dearing was among the first investors in the enterprise startup PagerDuty, the security company Signal Sciences, and shaving startup Harry's.

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10. Chad Byers

Chad Byers, a founder and general partner of Susa Ventures.
Courtesy of Chad Byers

Title: Founder and general partner, Susa Ventures

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Andela, Flexport, Mux, Newfront Insurance, Policygenius, Robinhood, Stord, Viz.ai

In 2013, Byers was in the audience of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." The guest, Peter Dinklage, joked that people got "nerd glaze" when they binged "Game of Thrones." Stewart loved the term and insisted that Dinklage had to register the domain.

But before Dinklage ever had a shot, Byers registered NerdGlaze.com. He tweeted the story years later, reminiscing about the thousands of hits his webpage got when the episode aired.

He ran the blog for about a year before founding Susa Ventures.

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9. Salil Deshpande

Salil Deshpande, a general partner at Uncorrelated Ventures.
Twitter/@salil

Title: General partner, Uncorrelated Ventures

City: Palo Alto, California

Notable seed investments: Astranis, CoinDCX, Dynatrace, MuleSoft, Pipe, Quantum Metric, Redis Labs, Sysdig

Deshpande's LinkedIn cover photo says, "Open source is good for me. I will fully embrace it."

Deshpande, a general partner at Uncorrelated Ventures, is a passionate proponent of open-source technology and invests accordingly. He's invested in companies such as Quantum Metric, a software startup, and MuleSoft, which was acquired by Salesforce for $6.5 billion.

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8. Elad Gil

Elad Gil, a cofounder of Color Genomics and Mixer Labs.
YouTube/Y Combinator

Title: Cofounder, Color Genomics and Mixer Labs

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Anduril, Brex, Checkr, Clubhouse, Gitlab, PagerDuty, Wish

Gil has played crucial roles at massive companies, first as a product manager at Google and then as the vice president of corporate strategy at Twitter.

He also cofounded two companies — Color Genomics and Mixer Labs, which was acquired by Twitter — before jumping headfirst into venture.

Gil has since gotten in on dream deals like Airbnb, Coinbase, Stripe, and Square.

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7. Nat Turner

Nat Turner, the cofounder and CEO of Flatiron Health.
Flatiron Health

Title: Cofounder and CEO, Flatiron Health

City: New York

Notable seed investments: Atom Finance, Blue Apron, Breakthrough Behavioral, Petal, Troops

Turner's Twitter bio is clear: "F**k cancer."

After Turner discovered that his 6-year-old cousin had cancer, he cofounded Flatiron Health, a healthcare company that gathers patient data to improve treatments. The startup, founded with Zach Weinberg, was acquired by Roche for $2 billion.

Turner is now the CEO of Flatiron Health and an active angel investor. He's invested in companies like the enterprise startup Troops, the mental-health company Breakthrough Behavioral, and the fintech startup Petal.

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6. David Frankel

David Frankel, a managing partner at Founder Collective.
YouTube/Harvard Business School

Title: Cofounder and managing partner, Founder Collective

City: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Notable seed investments: BuzzFeed, Coupang, Olo, PillPack, SeatGeek

"Who ever said building a company is easy?" Frankel says in his Founder Collective bio.

He would know — he cofounded Internet Solutions, which his bio described as the largest private internet service provider in Africa.

He's now a cofounder and managing partner of Founder Collective, a prominent seed-stage fund in the Boston area. He was an early investor in the digital pharmacy PillPack, the media juggernaut BuzzFeed, and the ticket search engine SeatGeek.

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5. Zach Weinberg

Zach Weinberg, a cofounder of Flatiron Health and Invite Media.
Courtesy of Zach Weinberg

Title: Cofounder, Flatiron Health and Invite Media

City: New York

Notable seed investments: Ally, Atom Finance, Blue Apron, Clover Health, Imagen Technologies, Lolli, Managed by Q, Plaid, Scoop Technologies

It's rare for lightning to strike the same place twice. But as a founder, Weinberg had two phenomenal exits: Invite Media, acquired by Google for $81 million, and Flatiron Health, acquired by Roche for a staggering $2 billion.

He's had the same good fortune as a seed investor, getting in on deals like the meal-delivery service Blue Apron and the corporate-carpooling app Scoop Technologies.

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4. Eric Paley

Eric Paley, a managing partner of Founder Collective.
Courtesy of Eric Paley

Title: Managing partner, Founder Collective

City: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Notable seed investments: Airtable, Cruise, The Trade Desk, Uber, Whoop

Paley is a managing partner of Founder Collective, a firm with about $185 million in assets under management. He's invested in the seed round of Uber, the software company Optimizely, and the self-driving-car company Cruise.

Paley says he looks for founders who think outside the box.

"One of our core beliefs is that many of the best founders pursue ideas that seem 'weird and wonderful' at first glance," he said. "We don't place much value in hot themes or new technologies."

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3. Sheel Mohnot

Sheel Mohnot, a cofounder of Better Tomorrow Ventures.
Courtesy of Sheel Mohnot

Title: Cofounder, Better Tomorrow Ventures

City: San Francisco

Notable seed investments: Albert, Chipper Cash, Ironclad, Kin Insurance, Flexport, Unit

Mohnot is basically a pop star. Well, not really. But he was briefly featured in Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande's music video for "Stuck with U." ("It's a long story," Mohnot said.)

Read: VC Sheel Mohnot is one of the best seed investors out there. He was also in a Justin Bieber music video.

In addition to his brush with stardom, Mohnot has made a name for himself in the venture world. He cofounded Better Tomorrow Ventures, a firm specializing in fintech startups, and invested early in companies such as Flexport, valued at $3.2 billion, and Albert, which recently raised $100 million.

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2. Lee Linden

Lee Linden, a managing partner at Quiet Capital.
YouTube/TechCrunch

Title: Managing partner, Quiet Capital

City: New York

Notable seed investments: Cruise, KeepTruckin, PlanGrid, Rippling, Vungle

Linden is a product guru who's known for his high energy and mental horsepower.

The investor cut his teeth as a consumer-product developer at Microsoft and created apps such as Tapjoy and Karma, which he sold to Facebook in 2012. He became the head of commerce at the social network and was in charge of Facebook Gifts, a now defunct feature that let users send gifts.

His venture firm, Quiet Capital, is based in Houston but invests in companies coast to coast.

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1. Justin Mateen

Justin Mateen, a cofounder of Tinder.
Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

Title: Principal, JAM Fund

City: Las Vegas

Notable seed investments: Alto Pharmacy, ABL Space, Brex, Curative, Dutchie, Home Chef, FabFitFun, Kalshi, Ready Responders

Mateen is one of the most prolific seed investors. He's invested in at least 87 startups and was among the first investors in companies like Varda Space and FabFitFun. He scored in the top 20% of all the metrics that Tribe Capital measured, meaning he's not only active but achieving good outcomes.

Mateen earned fame, fortune, and notoriety as a cofounder of Tinder, his first major gig in tech. In 2014, Whitney Wolfe Herd, a former VP of marketing, sued the company, alleging that she had faced sexual harassment and discrimination. The case was settled without admission of wrongdoing.

Read: Tinder cofounder Justin Mateen backs founders with a 'chip on their shoulder,' he says. Now he's the No. 1 seed investor.

"If a founder has a crazy sense of drive that's almost irrational, I look for that," he said, "because I think that's what keeps someone going when others may give up."

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