The Most Actives in the First Quarter

Every quarter, private equity data provider Pitchbook releases what they call their “Global League Tables.” The report is essentially an accounting of the top investment firms through the reported quarter. Which companies show up on top for the first quarter of 2024? Here’s a look.

The Most Active in the U.S.

The first look is the most active in the U.S. Before looking, can you guess which firms show up on top? Interesting, the top five includes (number of deals in parentheses) Ares (27), the Blackstone Group (23), Shore Capital Partners (22), Leonard Green & Partners (18), and Trivest Partners (16).

Rounding out the top ten are GTCR (15), New Mountain Finance (15), Altas Partners (14), Audax Private Equity (14), and KKR Credit (14).

Surprisingly, some of the usual big players were absent from the top ten in the first quarter of 2024, including Bain Capital (12), Harvest Partners (10), the Carlyle Group (10), Apollo Capital Management (9), and the Goldman Sachs Group (8).

The Most Active in Europe

Shifting attention to Europe, the following table has that view. Can you guess which firms show up on top without looking?

By far the number one investment firm in Europe in the first quarter of 2024 was Bpifrance (36). Second place Ardian was far behind with “just” 22 deals. Rounding out the top five were EQT (18), Hg (16), Mubadala Investment Company (16), Silver Lake (16), and Sjatte AP-fonden (16).

The remaining members of the top 10 include BNP Paribas Developpement (15), Berkshire Partners (15), and TA Associates Management (15).

The Most Active Globally

Given the picture pained by the U.S. and Europe, you can likely guess which firms show up on the global most active list. As shown in the following table, on top of the list is Ares (38), followed by Bpifrance (36), KKR Credit (30), the Blackstone Group (29), EQT (27).

The sixth through tenth places were occupied by Mubadala Investment Company (25), Silver Lake (25), TA Associates Management (25), Ardian (24), and Bain Capital (24).

Most Active by Exits

Our last view is the top investment firms ranked by the most exits. As with the other views, can you guess the top five without looking? Here’s the view.

The most active globally in the first quarter was KKR Credit, with 6 exits. The other members of the top five included the Pioneer Fund (5), Ares (4), BNP Paribas Developpement (4), and Bain Capital (4).

Other top exiting firms included (all with 3 exits) Ardian, Bpifrance, Cerberus Capital Management, HarbourVest Partners, Hg, OKX Ventures, and the Goldman Sachs Group.

Summing Up

Overall, although the economy is slowing, investors continue to be active in the private equity and venture capital world.


Every private equity investor knows that most startups go bust. The rate of busting is so high that sometimes it’s a miracle that early-stage companies continue to attract well-funded, eyes-wide-open, successful investors. Why would an investor put money into startups? Well, there is, of course, the chance that an investment will explode into the next Facebook or Tesla or a thousand other unicorns that made a difference in the world of business.

Recently, Carta released some data on the state of startups. Here’s a review.

Where are 2018 Startups Now?

It’s been five years since the bright-eyed startups and their financial backers entered the world of business. Where are they now?

Well, in tracking the outcomes for 3,067 U.S.-based startups incorporated in 2018, here’s a look. Of the funded startups, a little over a quarter (26.5%) are still in business in the ongoing pre-seed stage. Is it just me or is that a long time to still be in the pre-seed phase?

In any event, the next largest group are companies still operating that are in the ongoing Series A stage (18.6%). The third largest group is the Seed round at 14.1%.

Rounding out the ongoing funding stages of funded companies, the fourth largest group of companies is Series B at 9.0%, followed by Series C at 2.8%, Series D at 0.5%, and Series E+ at 0.2%.

Switching to companies that have closed rounds, 9.5% of companies are in the Pre-Seed stage. The next largest group of companies in the closed round column are Seed at 7.5% and Series A at 4.7%.

Rounding out the list of companies are Series B at 1.0%, Series C at 0.3%, and Series D at 0.1%.

Switching to the M&A column, 1.5% of the companies were in the Pre-Seed stage that had been acquired. Interestingly, Seed companies, at 2.0%, had gone through an M&A, followed by 1.4% of Series A companies, 0.3% of Series B, and 0.0% (1 company) being Series C.

Fascinatingly, only 4 companies (0.2%) had gone through an IPO.

It is also worth noting that around half of the startups, 49%, have sadly closed.

Summing Up

Overall, the startup world continues to chug forward, albeit at a slightly slower pace than what we’ve seen in years past. In looking at the chance that a startup will be acquired as a Pre-Seed within five years of founding, the odds are (unsurprisingly) relatively low – about 1 to 1.5%. Although “may the odds ever be in your favor” may not apply here, investors continue to allocate money to the world of startup ideas, ever in search of the return that cannot be gained elsewhere.


It’s a forgone conclusion that startups fare better in some cities compared to others. Private equity data provider Pitchbook is out with a new take on the world’s top startup cities. Can you guess the top 10? Here’s the geographic view.

The Top 10

Which cities make up the top 10? Here’s the view based upon Pitchbook’s Development score. In first place is San Francisco with total amount raised of $428 billion across 19,898 deals. Businesses headquartered in San Francisco have had exit values of $766 billion across 2,088 exits.

Behind San Francisco’s lead in New York. Businesses headquartered in New York have raised $180 billion in capital across 13,594 deals.

Coming in third place Beijing with $161 billion in capital raised across 8,835 deals. Businesses headquartered in Beijing have seen a much smaller number of exits at 312, although the trend for the city is positive.

In fourth place is another Chinese city – Shanghai. Businesses headquartered in Shanghai have generated $130 billion in raised capital across 7,422 deals.

Rounding out the top five is Los Angeles with $145 billion in capital raised across 9,781 deals.

The bottom half of the top 10 includes many other well-known cities, including Boston, London, Shenzhen, Soul, and Tokyo.

Life has been good for many businesses headquartered in these cities.

Other Areas

Unsurprisingly, businesses headquartered in larger cities tend to raise more capital than smaller cities. And, Americans tend to dominate the startup world, with businesses headquartered in China quickly moving to catch up. What does the top 10 look like for businesses headquartered in other areas of the world? Here’s a look at Europe.

The leading European city for startup businesses is London with $99 billion in capital raised across 11,533 deals.  The next closest European city is Berlin, Germany with $31 billion in capital raised across 2,469 deals.

Behind London and Berlin are four other big European cities – Paris, Stockholm, Amsterdam, and Munich.

What about the Middle East, Latin America, or Oceania? According to Pitchbook’s list, three cities – one from each area – show up as top startup cities. The cities include Sydney, Sao Paulo, and Tel Aviv.

Summing Up

Overall, the startup world is much more successful in certain cities of the world. Will the current standings be similar in a decade from now? Time will tell. Many forces will affect the rankings, and we’ll see which businesses, individuals, and policymakers choose wisely for long-term economic success.


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Looking at the Updated Performance Benchmarks

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