ALLEN TAYLOR


Venture capital is becoming a global industry – and you can tell in three different ways: dollars deployed; $1B+ startups; and now, the Forbes 2024 Midas List. Let me explain.

More than 50% of venture capital today is being deployed outside the United States. A striking statistic reflects the work at Endeavor Catalyst, our rules-based co-investment fund, and shows the dramatic shift. In 2003, approximately 90% of global VC dollars were deployed in the US, meaning the market share for the rest of the world was only about 10%.

By 2013, that share of VC dollars being deployed outside the US had grown to roughly 30%. Last year, in 2023, that number was 60%. This shift is driven by the dramatic rise of venture ecosystems in China, India, Latin America, and beyond, and is accompanied by the growth of hundreds of unicorns and dozens of IPOs originating outside the United States.

Unicorns everywhere

We started Endeavor Catalyst 12 years ago with initial investments in Latin America and Türkiye. At the time, we dreamed about helping a handful of Endeavor companies – based in emerging markets – to build $1B+ businesses.

To put things in context, in 2013, when Aileen Lee first wrote about “unicorns” – coining a new term for a $1B+ VC-backed company – there were only 39 unicorns in the world and all of them were in the United States. Fast forward to today, and there are more than 1,300 unicorns in the world – with only 51% of them in the US. Seventeen percent of these companies are in China and 6% are in India.

Notably for Endeavor, 26% of the world’s unicorns are in the “rest of the world” – primarily in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and the rest of Asia.

At Endeavor Catalyst, we’ve far exceeded our original dream, supporting and investing in nearly 50 emerging market unicorns – making us the #1 most prolific investor in $1B+ unicorn companies beyond the US, China, and India.

To put that in context for our own portfolio design, we have made 300+ investments across more than 30 countries, and one in six companies in our portfolio is now a unicorn. Our portfolio includes incredible case studies like Bukalapak, Indonesia’s biggest IPO at the time, Peak Games, a Turkish gaming company acquired by Zynga for nearly $2B, and Payhawk, Bulgaria’s first unicorn. These are proof that success stories can emerge from anywhere.

Midas List Insights 

This trend connects with another realization I had after checking the 2024 Forbes Midas List, the annual ranking of the World’s Top 100 Best Venture Capital Investors. When the list was published earlier this month, my first take was that it was amazing to see Endeavor board members like Reid Hoffman and Nicolas Szekasy on the list, both of whom are hugely important personal mentors of mine.

It was also interesting to see Endeavor Entrepreneurs-turned-VCs like Santi Subotovsky, who originally founded the e-learning company AXG Tecnonexo in Argentina and is now a general partner at Emergence Capital, and Avi Eyal, who was selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in South Africa years ago, before going on to found his VC firm, Entrée Capital.

However, a deeper dive revealed something even more significant: nearly 30% of the VCs on the list are based outside the US, and over 30% of the notable deals also have international roots. Companies like UI Path (originally from Romania), Bytedance (China), Flipkart (India), Canva (Australia), and Coupang (South Korea) are all responsible for landing different partners on this year’s Midas List. In fact, Brazil’s Nubank was listed as the “notable deal” six times on this year’s list – more than any other company.  

The human talent at the top of the VC industry is definitively global — all five of the top investors on this year’s Midas List were born outside of the United States — but historically people moved here to Silicon Valley to earn the chance to invest in the best companies in the world. As we see in this year’s Midas list, that is changing. While the talent is as global as ever before, the investment opportunities – including those that can produce VC’s famous “outlier” success stories – are increasingly everywhere. 

At Endeavor, we expect more cases like these as the decentralization of capital increases in the next few years. A decade from now, you might have a Midas list where more than half the world’s top investors live and work outside the US, and the top five or 10 deals are all from other countries. 

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