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jim breyerWhen Forbes last published its Midas List of the venture capitalists with the best returns, it was mostly made up of familiar faces — as in past years, the top of the list was dominated by the major investors in Google. The new list, however, sees some big shake-ups.

Those changes begin at the very top. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ John Doerr and Sequoia Capital’s Michael Moritz had been wrestling for the number one spot, but now Doerr has fallen from the top 10, and Accel Partners’ Jim Breyer leads the list. What happened? Well, more than two years have passed since the previous list. Google’s initial public offering is now more than five years in the past, so it doesn’t contribute to the rankings.

And Forbes has changed its methodology, presumably to recognize changes in the venture landscape and to add a little more dynamism to the list. It has added a few private companies to its calculations, using their most recent valuations from Dow Jones VentureSource. So even though Facebook hasn’t held its IPO yet, it’s pretty obvious that Accel’s investment in the company has been tremendously successful — Forbes estimates that the firm’s $12.7 million investment is now worth $5 billion. So rather than wait for the IPO, Forbes has preemptively moved Breyer to the top of the list.

Meanwhile, Sequoia’s Moritz held on to the number two, thanks to investments in A123 Systems, Atom Entertainment, and others. And LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman has shot up to number three, thanks to his stake in the professional networking company (which just filed to go public) and to his angel investments in companies like Groupon and Zynga.

Here’s the top 10:

  1. Jim Breyer/Accel Partners
  2. Michael Moritz/Sequoia Capital
  3. Reid Hoffman/Greylock Partners
  4. Peter Fenton/Benchmark Capital
  5. Scott Scandell/New Enterprise Associates
  6. Kevin Efrusy/Accel Partners
  7. Peter Thiel/Founders Fund
  8. Peter Barris/New Enterprise Associates
  9. David Sze/Greylock Partners
  10. Marc Andreessen/Andreessen Horowitz

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