Index Ventures has closed a trio of new funds: a $900 million early-stage fund, a $2 billion growth-stage fund and a previously announced $200 million seed-stage fund. The close gives Index $3 billion in new capital, its largest tranche yet, to deploy into emerging startups and existing portfolio companies, which include the likes of Plaid, Deliveroo and Revolut, which was just valued at $33 billion.
Index’s new capital comes a little over a year since it closed its last funds, which were a duet of $1.2 billion for growth-stage investments and $800 million for early-stage investments. It also is announced while venture dollars more broadly seem to be growing at an unprecedented rate -- In recent weeks, Accel announced that it has closed $3 billion across three funds, too, and Andreessen Horowitz landed a $2.2 billion fund dedicated entirely to crypto startups.
The influx of money means that check sizes and valuations are growing across the entire ecosystem. Index, for example, said that it has grown its Series A check size from $10 million to $15 million, while it increased its growth check from $35 million to $50 million. Its check size in the United States is about 20% higher compared to its check size in Europe, meaning that the former represents between 55% to 60% of the firm’s total investing dollars.
While Index’s check size is growing slightly bigger to keep up with competition, partner Mark Goldberg said that the firm is staying disciplined so it doesn’t fall prey to FOMO rounds or buzzy valuations.
“There have been situations where two years ago, I would have engaged,” in a competition for a late-stage round, he said. “And now I say that we probably are not going to compete … because at the heart of the matter, I think capital is a commodity.” The partner didn’t point to Accel’s $3 billion close, but instead noted how “Tiger Global and other crossover funds” have created a new capital product, which means that Index’s ability to compete must look different than just offering a ton of money.
“If you’re just looking for capital, we’re probably not going to be the best product for you,” Goldberg added.
Index Partner Martin Mignot thinks that a "bifurcation is really happening" in the fundraising market, where some founders are able to raise easily, but many continue to struggle if they're not "at the right sector in the right place at the right time." Mignot has been spending time looking at Africa as a potential investment area that continues to be underresourced. He hinted that an official initiative focused on Africa startups may be underway.
The firm said it has "several initiatives in place related to diversity including increasing the number of individuals on our investment from underrepresented groups and diversifying our investment funnel" but said that it does not track diversity statistics at a portfolio company level "yet." Index said that its investment team is composed of 38% of individuals who identify as female and 14% of individuals who come from underrepresented groups, although its unclear whether they have check-writing power. Update: Index said that every member on the investment team has check-writing power, that varies in degree based on seniority and type of deal.
Index appears to be going through a period of experimentation when it comes to the services offered to portfolio companies. While the firm declined to give too many specifics on upcoming initiatives around diversity or more generally, it did note its growing TikTok presence as part of its strategy.
The Index Ventures TikTok has over 28,000 followers. Its most viewed video is about Costco’s business model, with 4.8 million views followed by an interview clip from Scale AI founder Alexandr Wang, with 315,000 views.
“It's not something where I think the next deal comes from the TikTok account, but it's one of those initiatives where … I think it will pay dividends” in helping Index reach a younger audience that isn’t active on tech Twitter or Clubhouse. Index’s TikTok, led by Molly Alter and Rex Woodbury, is reminiscent of how some emerging fund managers are approaching creative deal flow.
The firm is also experimenting with incubating startups in-house, which has historically never been a major focus. A tweet suggests that Index is actively recruiting entrepreneurs to join the incubator, which could be divided thematically. Goldberg declined to give more specifics around how incubation programs are structured and what the terms are, saying that the Index Incubator is not an official product yet.
That said, one can only imagine that a firm freshly capitalized with billions of dollars probably has some money to spare — from incubated projects to those growth-stage companies in need of active investors.