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(6 September 2022, Mumbai, India) The Hurun Research Institute today released the Hurun Global Venture Capitalists 2022 Half-Year Report, a ranking of the world’s most successful venture capital investors based on the number of unicorns and gazelles in their portfolio. The cut-off date used was 30 June 2022. Hurun Research has been tracking unicorns and venture capitalists since 2017.


Unicorns and gazelles represent the cream of the world’s start-ups. Both are start-ups founded in the 2000s and not yet listed on a public exchange. A unicorn has a valuation of over US$1bn, whilst a gazelle is worth over US$500mn and most likely to ‘go unicorn’, i.e. hit a valuation of US$1bn, within three years.


There are 1933 unicorns and gazelles in the world today, of which 1312 are unicorns and 621 are gazelles.


Unicorns. Hurun Research found 1312 unicorns in the world, up 24% in the last half year in numbers and 11% in value to US$4.1tn. The world’s unicorns come from 48 countries, up from 42, spread around 259 cities, up from 221. Unicorns are disrupting financial services, business management solutions and healthcare. They are 8 years old on average.


Gazelles. Hurun Research found 621 Gazelles in the world, based in 33 countries and 151 cities. On average, they were set up in 2015, with the vast majority selling software and services, with only 26% selling physical products. 58% are selling to businesses, whilst 42% are consumer-facing. Gazelles were disrupting healthcare, financial services and business management solutions.


Over US$600bn of venture funds were invested globally last year, nearly ten times the level a decade ago.



Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher Rupert Hoogewerf said: “The Hurun Global Venture Capitalists is targeted at investors who are looking to know which venture capitals houses are best at identifying the current crop of fastest-growing start-ups in the world. Investors include high net worth individuals, such as those from the Hurun Global Rich List, as well as pension funds and government sovereign wealth funds. The number of blockbuster start-ups from the likes of the Hurun Global Gazelle Index and Hurun Global Unicorn Index has led to investors allocating a larger part of their portfolio towards start-ups.”


“The opportunity for innovation remains vast. The impact of technology is no longer just in computers but across all parts of the business world. Venture capitalists play a critical part in the start-up ecosystem, bringing money, advice and connections to help start-ups grow into global-scale business.”


“It’s easy to see the influence of Silicon Valley, with San Francisco topping the headquarters for Hurun Global Venture Capitalists and both Menlo Park and Palo Alto making the Top 5. Venture capital as an industry started out in the seventies just as Silicon Valley was gaining steam. The mid-nineties was the next boom, also in Silicon Valley, followed by the boom in China after 2005.”


“For most investors, managing to find just one of the Hurun Unicorns or Hurun Gazelles is enough for a lifetime, but the Hurun Global Venture Capitalists make it look easy, investing into hundreds of the world’s current crop of best start-ups. They have shown that they are not just a one-trick pony, getting lucky once with a big win and then coasting on their reputation.”


“How do these Venture Capitalists attract the best deals? Gone are the days of the sea of platitudes about believing in, thought-partnering, pushing the world forward, and any number of other well-meant banalities. Now is the era when their genuine expertise translates into value add for founders, especially helping them with recruitment, strategy and a war chest to grow.”


“Becoming a partner in one of the Hurun Global Venture Capitalists is the pinnacle of the venture capital world.”


“A successful start-up ecosystem requires rolemodels, both individuals, such as those from the Hurun Rich Lists, and companies, such as those from the Hurun 500 most valuable companies series. Attracting the best investors, who bring with them their experience as well as their cash, plays a critical role.  If a city or country can attract the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, companies and investors to set up shop there, that will have a roll-on effect. Entrepreneurship is infectious and cities with lots of rolemodels are likely to attract the brightest and best young entrepreneurs. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.”


“Hurun is committed to promoting entrepreneurship through its lists and research. Hurun’s ‘startup series’ has four main components. It begins with the Hurun U30s Entrepreneurs to Watch, a list of the top entrepreneurs under the age of 30. Next up are two ‘future unicorn’ lists: Hurun Cheetahs, most likely to ‘go unicorn’ within 5 years and currently with a valuation of over US$300 million, and Hurun Gazelles, most likely to ‘go unicorn’ within 3 years and currently with a valuation of over US$500 million. The Hurun Global Unicorn Index is the pinnacle of the world’s start-ups. Behind all these start-ups lie the Hurun Global Venture Capitalists, the ‘entrepreneurs behind the entrepreneurs.”



Top 10 Most successful Venture Capitalists in the world


Silicon Valley-founded Sequoia Capital is the most successful start-up investor in the world, investing into 328 of the world’s unicorns and gazelles, up 43 from last year.


Sequoia Capital is top by a long shot, investing into 328 of the Hurun Global Unicorns and Gazelles, up 43 in 6mths. Key bets include ByteDance, Shein, Vision Energy, Canva, Stripe, Instacart, Chime, FTX, BYJU's and Citadel Securities. Investment legend Don Valentine founded Sequoia Capital in Menlo Park 50 years ago, just as the term ‘Silicon Valley’ was being coined, and winning big with the likes of Google. Today, Sequoia Capital includes Sequoia USA/Europe, Sequoia China, and Sequoia India/Southeast Asia, three independently operated localized funds. Sequoia China was founded in 2005 by Neil Shen Nanpeng and Sequoia Capital.


SoftBank. Japan’s SoftBank has invested into 217 Unicorns and Gazelles, helping it overtake Tiger Global to second place. Legendary founder Masayoshi Son is known for placing big bets on start-ups, making his name especially with Alibaba. Other recent notable investments include Revolut, OYO,, Automation Anywhere, Biofourmis, Kushki, Material Bank, Agile Robots, and Ola Electric. Recently, the fund exited from Fair, Grab, Paytm, PolicyBazaar, WeWork, and VTEX, and has invested into Merama, Incode Technologies, Ola Electric, Sorare, and Naver Z.


Tiger Global. New York-based Tiger Global manages over US$20 billion and benefitted from the rise in share prices of tech companies such as Zoom during the pandemic. Founded in 2001 by Chase Coleman III, Tiger Global was one of the earliest VCs to invest in start-ups across the world and is known for its fast decision-making and so-called ‘Tiger Vouchers’, that give its portfolio access to services from world-class consultants. Notable Unicorns in its kitty include Databricks, Brex,, Stripe, Dream11, BlockFi, and ServiceTitan. Tiger Global lately exited from Delhivery, SenseTime, Deliverr, Dave, and Samsara. While it took a stake in Cribl, Viz, CertiK, Oxyzo, Getir, Helium and DealShare. Together with Sequoia and SoftBank, Tiger Global makes up the ‘Big Three’ Venture Capitalists.


Tencent Investment. Shenzhen-based Tencent Investment seems to be the odd-one out in the Top 10, in that it is a corporate venture arm of a one of the world’s largest tech companies Tencent Holdings. The firm prefers to invest in the wireless internet, new media, online games, social networks and e-commerce sectors. It has funded more than 1,300 companies worldwide to date, including Scalapay, Blockstream, CMR, Surgical, Discord, GO-JEK, Lydia, Nowports and Swiggy. In the past few months, Tencent Investments sold its stakes in SoundHound, Zhihu, Nubank, PolicyBazaar, and Udemy, and took stakes in Jeeves, Scalapay, Lydia, Xiaohongshu, and QuintoAndar.


CICC Capital is 5th, having invested into 115 of the Hurun Global Unicorns and Gazelles, up 55. Headquartered in Beijing, CICC Capital was founded in 2017 and has grown into one of China's leading private investment managers. CICC has invested in unicorn companies such as United Imaging and Horizon Robotics, as well as gazelle companies such as CH Biomedical and Dera.


Accel. Founded in 1983 in Palo Alto by Jim Swartz and Arthur Patterson, made its name especially with Facebook and today has a strong global outreach.


Y Combinator. Founded in 2005 by four partners, led by Paul Graham and Jessica Livingstone, Y Combinator had early successes with Dropbox, Airbnb, Stripe, Doordash, Teespring, Heroku, Optimisely and Reddit. The Y Combinator motto is ‘Make something people want’.


Andreessen Horowitz. Menlo Park-based Andreessen Horowitz was a late comer to the venture capital party, starting out only after the financial crisis in 2009 when seasoned entrepreneurs Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen came together but has grown aggressively into a Top 10 player.  Early hits included Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Skype, Okta and Slack.


Insight Partners. New York-based Insight, founded over 25 years ago, has almost US$100 billion in total assets under management. Prominent portfolio hits include FTX, Automattic,, Databricks, BigPanda, BlaBlaCar, Dataiku, and Sisense. Insight Partners' latest portfolio exits include Zenefits, Salesloft, Nextdoor, WeWork, and SentinelOne. Meanwhile, they invested in Abnormal Security, Coda Payments, Viz, Unit, and CertiK.


Lightspeed Venture Partners. Menlo Park-based Lightspeed started out after the dotcom bubble burst in 2000. Early successes were built around enterprise software, including Nimble Storage, Nutanix, MuleSoft and AppDynamics, but it was Snapchat that really made its name. Lightspeed has grown into China with James Mi and India with Bejul Somaia.



Points of interest


Strong first half of year. In the first six months of the year, China-based CICC added 41 unicorns to its portfolio, while SoftBank added 34, Sequoia added 28, and Temasek added 26 unicorns. In the same period, Sequoia, CICC and Y Combinator added 15, 11 and 11 Gazelles to their portfolio.


Where are they headquartered? San Francisco has been the preferred city for the Hurun Global Venture Capitalists, with 23 investors headquartered there, followed by New York with 17, Menlo Park with 16, Beijing fourth with 15 and Palo Alto fifth with 14.


Where is their footprint? When looking at the offices these investors have, it tells a much more diversified story. Whilst San Francisco is still top with 30 offices there, these investors have 29 offices in Beijing, 26 in Shanghai and 24 in New York.


Average age of 26 years. Majority of them were founded around 1995, with the oldest them being Goldman Sachs in 1869 and the youngest Durable Capital Partners in 2019.



By Country of Origin

Whilst the vast majority of the Hurun Global Venture Capitalists were originally founded in the US, many of them, like Sequoia, have local partnerships in China and India and other parts of the world.


Breakdown by Unicorn vs Gazelle investments


Sequoia Capital leads both for Unicorns and Gazelles, whilst SoftBank, Tencent, Accel, and Y Combinator made the top 10 for both Gazelles and Unicorns.  Up and coming investors to watch, that are especially strong in Gazelle investments include CICC, Matrix Partners, Qiming Venture, GGV Capital and Lightspeed.


Top 10 Unicorns


Comparison between Gazelles, Unicorns and Global 500

A Gazelle is a start-up founded in the 2000s, worth over US$500mn, not yet listed on a public exchange and most likely to ‘go unicorn’, i.e. hit a valuation of US$1bn, within three years.  The Hurun Global 500 is a list of the 500 most valuable non state-controlled businesses in the world.


The pipeline for the Hurun Global 500 is the Hurun Global Unicorn Index and the pipeline for the Hurun Global Unicorn Index is the Hurun Global Gazelle Index. From this, we can see how China and India have a higher percentage of Gazelles and Unicorns, which over the course of 5 years ought to translate into a higher percentage of Global 500s. In the same way, Germany, France and Canada have a smaller percentage of start-ups, which suggests they will lose ground in the Global 500.


By city, San Francisco, Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Bengaluru have more start-ups, suggesting they will have more Global 500s within five years.


By industry, healthcare and business management solutions ought to grow into Global 500 companies.


Companies selling software & services and directly to businesses, rather than consumers, are on the up.



The Hurun Global Venture Capitalists is compiled by the Hurun Research Institute, ranking investors according to the number of unicorns and gazelles that they have invested into. Cut-off for this year’s index was 30 June 2022.


Hurun Research began with the Hurun Global Unicorns Index 2022 and Hurun Global Gazelles 2022, listing the world’s most successful start-ups. Hurun Research then analysed the number of these start-ups that investors had in their portfolio. The result was the Hurun Global Venture Capitalists 2022.



Disclaimer. All the data collection and research have been carried out by Hurun Research. This report is meant for information purposes only. Reasonable care and caution have been taken in preparing this report. The information contained in this report has been obtained from sources that are considered reliable. By accessing and/or using any part of the report, the user accepts this disclaimer and exclusion of liability which operates to the benefit of Hurun. Hurun does not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any information contained in the report and neither shall it be responsible for any errors or omissions in or for the results obtained from the use of such information. No third party whose information is referenced in this report under the credit to it, assumes any liability towards the user with respect to its information. Hurun shall not be liable for any decisions made by the user based on this report (including those of investment or divestiture) and the user takes full responsibility for the decisions made based on this report. Hurun shall not be liable to any user of this report (and expressly disclaim liability) for any loss, or damage of any nature, including but not limited to direct, indirect, punitive, special, exemplary, consequential losses, loss of profit, lost business and economic loss regardless of the cause or form of action and regardless of whether or not any such loss could have been foreseen.


About Hurun Inc.


Promoting Entrepreneurship Through Lists and Research

Oxford, Shanghai, Mumbai, Sydney, Paris


Established in the UK in 1999, Hurun is a research, media and investments group, promoting entrepreneurship through its lists and research. Widely regarded as an opinion-leader in the world of business, Hurun generated 6 billion views on the Hurun brand last year, mainly in China and India.


Best-known today for the Hurun Rich Index series, telling the stories of the world’s successful entrepreneurs in China, India and the world, Hurun’s two other key series include the Hurun Start-up series and the Hurun 500 series, a ranking of the world’s most valuable companies.


The Hurun Start-up series begins with the Hurun U30s, an awards recognizing the most successful entrepreneurs under the age of thirty, and is today in seven countries. Next up are Hurun Cheetahs, Chinese and Indian start-ups with a valuation of between US$300mn to US$500mn, most likely to go unicorn with five years.  Hurun Global Gazelles recognize start-ups with a valuation of US$500mn to US$1bn, most likely to go unicorn within three years. The culmination of the start-up series is the Hurun Global Unicorn Index.


Other lists include the Hurun Philanthropy Index, ranking the biggest philanthropists, the Hurun Art Index, ranking the world’s most successful artists alive today, etc…


Hurun provides research reports co-branded with some of the world’s leading financial insitutions, real estate developers and regional governments.


Hurun hosted high-profile events in the last couple of years across China and India, as well as London, Paris, New York, LA, Sydney, Luxembourg, Istanbul, Dubai and Singapore. Upcoming events include London on Oct 17, Sydney on Oct 20, Boston on Nov 4, LA on Nov 11, Shanghai on Nov 18 and Dubai in January 2023.


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