Home Venture Capital These Are 30 of the Most Successful Early-Stage Investors in the World

These Are 30 of the Most Successful Early-Stage Investors in the World

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There are around 300,000 active angel investors, but who are the best of the best? In an industry full of marketing and hype where investments take over a decade to bear fruit, it can be hard to tell.

TRAC, a San Francisco-based early-stage venture firm cofounded by Fred Campbell, Joseph Aaron, Scott Pyne, Steve Marek, and Dick Fredericks in 2020, has set about to take a more systematic approach to venture capital.

The firm developed a propriety model it calls “Moneyball for venture capital” that uses AI to predict which early-stage startups are most likely to become unicorns, which are companies valued at more than a billion dollars.

TRAC’s model does not value founders as predictive. Instead, it finds a very small group of early investors it calls “SuperForecasters” much more more indicative of whether an early startup will someday become a unicorn. (The firm borrowed the term from Phillip Tetlock and Dan Gardner’s 2015 book, Superforecasters: The Art and Science of Prediction.)

“A SuperForecaster is in the top 1/10th of 1% of all early-stage investors,” Aaron told Business Insider. “These extraordinary investors make a profit on two-thirds of their positions and one in five of their investments returns over 10X.”

When BI published TRAC’s predictions of future unicorns last year, the firm declined to share names of SuperForecasters, lest it spill the beans on its secret sauce.

But now TRAC has agreed to name names, revealing a random sampling of 30 of the 287 SuperForecasters in its model.

The list was generated using 15 metrics, including “batting average,” the number of someone’s pre-seed or seed investments that go on to raise a follow-on round of capital; Aaron says half of SuperForecaster’s early investments raise later rounds.

What else do these SuperForecasters have in common? According to TRAC:

  • Most are in their mid-40s; it takes up to 10 years of active investing in startups before an investor will qualify as a SuperForecaster.

  • They probably didn’t go to business school and were likely math, computer science or engineering majors.

  • Almost two-thirds have started one tech company and almost half have started two startups.

  • They rarely make follow-on investments. The SuperForecaster follow-on rate is close to just 3%.

  • They seldom invest in startups with a single founder.

  • SuperForecasters rely on their own judgment. The same two rarely, if ever, co-invest in the same startups.

Here are the 30 individuals TRAC’s model identified as SuperForecasters, in alphabetical order.

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