Even with all the talk these days of investors having short arms and thin wallets, money from limited partners continues to flow into venture capital funds. Accel Partners earlier today announced the closing of a pair of U.S. funds totaling $2 billion.

Accel is creating a $500 million fund for early stage companies and a $1.5 billion fund for later stage businesses. “We are excited about what’s ahead. Technology is central to the way people live and work around the world, evolving the way we communicate, learn, shop, travel” and more, said Ryan Sweeney, growth fund manager at Accel.

The size of these funds and their apparently generalist approach suggests both confidence in innovation writ large and in an investment strategy with some built-in hedges. In 2015, consumer, mobile and Saas led Accel’s investments by category:

Accel 2015

Above: Accel’s 2015 investments by category

The 30-plus year old firm has offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, London and Bangalore.  Earlier this year, the firm described nine areas of focus, each worthy of fascination and future innovation.

  1. A “quantified, autonomous future” made possible by the “confluence of predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and computer vision technologies.” Think intelligent machines, drones, and self-driving cars.
  2. “The social graph continues to reorient how people interact.” Think crowdfunding for everything from donations to how we listen to music.
  3. “Enterprise-grade tools [that] change the way businesses collaborate, communicate and innovate.” Think collaboration platforms and workplace software.
  4. “Open source software” causes “a rethinking of the technology engine in the enterprise.” Think the billions of lines of code that now power business software.
  5. A “golden age of video” is upon us. Think mobile production, distribution and monetization of video.
  6. “Augmented/virtual reality experiences … hint at a future where video evolves into something immersive and interactive.” Think Oculus, acquired by Facebook, and Niantic, which emerged from Google.
  7. Growth of an “APX Economy” where third-party APIs basically replace business processes. Think non-core capabilities like payment systems, analytics and search.
  8. “Hardening security.” Think defense against hackers and ransomware, let alone defending cyber warfare.
  9. People can “capitalize on their talents wherever they are.” Think the rise of an “on-demand economy” but on a global scale.

These nine big ideas will likely serve as a roadmap for Accel’s future investments and provide inspiration for entrepreneurs seeking some of that $2 billion.


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