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How Tiger Global threw out the venture-capital rulebook and bulldozed the competition in 2021

Tiger Global; Ben Gabbe/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Insider

    • Tiger Global went on a dealmaking tear with 335 investments in 2021, Crunchbase showed.
    • The firm’s aggressive investing strategy mixed fast cash and a hands-off approach, founders said.
    • There are no signs that its venture investing will slow down in 2022.

It’s no exaggeration that in the world of venture capital, 2021 was the year of Tiger Global. 

The global hedge fund made its mark with a feverish investing pace that won it some of the year’s biggest venture-capital deals. For instance, it led rounds in Patreon, a content-creator subscription platform; Hinge Health, a healthcare startup; and Side, a real-estate tech company. 

The firm’s approach involved a mix of offering huge amounts of cash to startups in hot sectors, such as crypto and fintech, and a brisk pace of dealmaking that left many of Silicon Valley’s biggest venture firms in the dust. Tiger made 335 total investments in 2021, more than marquee VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, Crunchbase showed. 

That frenzied pace fueled a competitive market for investors, which boosted valuations of startups across the board to levels not seen before.

Startups that chose to accept investments from Tiger Global told Insider they liked the firm’s fast-paced dealmaking and relatively hands-off approach. Unlike other VCs, Tiger rarely takes board seats, they said. Late-stage startup founders, in particular, said they preferred the capital instead of advice.

But not all VCs think the changes are for the best. Some top VCs think the incentives get skewed when venture capitalists have billions under management, with firms — including Andreessen Horowitz, Insight Partners, and Sequoia — closing multibillion-dollar funds this year.

Needless to say, Tiger’s approach to venture investing threw out the traditional VC rulebook and forced the industry to rethink how it does deals going forward. 

Yet, there’s no sign of that dealmaking stopping. Tiger Global has already closed on an enormous, new $8.8 billion fund, its biggest venture fund ever, Bloomberg reported. That’s on top of a $6.7 billion venture fund it raised in March, and a previous $3.75 billion fund from early last year. 

Read more on how Tiger Global shook up the venture-capital ecosystem: 

  • Hedge fund Tiger Global is blowing up the unwritten rules of startup investing right now with its speed, tons of cash, and hands-off approach
  • How Tiger Global is beating other VCs, according to 6 startup founders who took its deals
  • Tiger Global is one of the largest shareholders in SoftBank, and the two are doing more mega VC deals together, an insider says
  • Top Tiger Global dealmaker John Curtius has a stark warning for startup employees about their stock pay

Hive cofounders, wearing grey vests, posing against boxes and wooden palletsFrom left: Franz Purucker, Oskar Ziegler, and Leonard von Kleist, Hive’s cofounders.

Hive

Founders were shocked and awed

Many startup founders are often shocked and awed by the speed and ease at which the global investment firm opens its mighty war chest.

That’s because Tiger typically does all of its due diligence on companies beforehand, giving it the upper hand. That was the case with the logistics startup Hive in Berlin, where Tiger led a $34 million Series A, said Franz Purucker, the company’s chief strategy officer. The hedge fund also did its homework on the email startup Superhuman. CEO Rahul Vohra said all it took was a phone call with John Curtius, the head of Tiger’s software-investing practice. Two days later, Tiger had invested in Superhuman’s $75 million round. Other founders recounted getting deals in a matter of hours or sometimes even minutes.

Read more on startup founders and their deals with Tiger Global:

  • Tiger Global dealmakers Scott Shleifer and John Curtius are winning over Miami startups. The latest is QuickNode.
  • Superhuman CEO Rahul Vohra explains how Tiger Global’s John Curtius is very different from other VCs
  • How the CEO of Tiger Global-backed crypto startup MoonPay is planning to make NFTs mainstream by making them easier to buy
  • How a female construction tech founder convinced two powerful VC firms, Insight Partners and Tiger Global, to invest $80 million

Revolut CEO Nikolay Storonsky speaks onstage during Day 2 of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018 at Moscone Center on September 6, 2018 in San Francisco, California.Nikolay Storonsky, Revolut’s CEO.

Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Every market. Every stage.

Tiger made a total of 335 investments in 2021, making deals every four out of five working days, Crunchbase showed. And that meant it doled out funds across a host of startups in every stage in sectors such as digital health, fintech and crypto.

Read more about the funding rounds that Tiger took part in:

  • Jokr CEO lays out his growth strategy after the ultrafast delivery startup raises $260 million from Tiger Global, GGV, and other investors
  • Challenger business bank Qonto is close to a $5 billion valuation with a new funding round led by Tiger Global
  • Tiger Global and Y Combinator have backed a $25 million round into travel and event-booking startup Easol
  • Tiger Global is leading a massive $200 million investment in Robinhood competitor Public.com at about a $1.2 billion valuation, quadrupling the company’s value in just 2 months
  • Hot marketplace startup Ankorstore is in talks to raise up to $95 million from Tiger Global
  • No-code startup Bryter just raised $66 million from Tiger Global without a pitch deck for its US expansion
  • Rent-to-own real-estate startup Divvy Homes raises $110 million in round led by tech investor Tiger Global

John CurtiusJohn Curtius leads software investing for the billionaire Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global.

Tiger Global

How founders wooed Tiger

Check out the pitch decks that savvy founders used to convince Tiger Global to invest millions of dollars. The investments range from startups that connect scooters and drones to the internet to ones that build software to analyze spending at construction sites. 

Read more:

  • Check out the 15-page pitch deck that helped Indonesian payments startup Xendit become a unicorn in a $150 million round led by Tiger Global
  • Here’s the 16-slide pitch deck Selfbook, a startup bringing one-click booking to the travel industry, used to raise $25 million from Tiger Global
  • Here’s an exclusive look at the pitch deck that workforce-management startup Papaya Global used to raise $250 million from Tiger Global, Insight Partners, and others
  • Cloudsmith wants to make software management safer. Check out the pitch deck it used to raise $15 million backed by mega-investor Tiger Global.
  • Here’s an exclusive look at the pitch deck PowerPoint rival Pitch used to raise $85 million backed by investment giant Tiger Global

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