NVCA Member Spotlight: Icon Ventures

Welcome to our Member Spotlight series where we give a profile overview of our many diverse members. For this deep dive, we spoke to Joe Horowitz, Managing General Partner at Icon Ventures and NVCA Board Member, to learn more about his firm.

Tell us about your firm. What makes it different?

Icon Ventures is a Silicon Valley-based firm that specializes in Series B and C financings in tech sectors such as cloud and data, security, digital health and other areas of IT investing. We lead financings for extraordinary early-stage companies, co-investing alongside the world’s leading venture firms. We have an 18-year track record of proven success across all market cycles with 33 successful exits to date, including 6 IPOs, with a combined market value of $89 billion. We take great pride in having accomplished all of this with a small, deeply integrated, highly experienced team.

Where did your firm’s name come from?

Our goal at Icon Ventures is to shine a light on the greatest entrepreneurs and venture investors we are privileged to work with. These are the true Icons in Silicon Valley and around the world.

What defines your portfolio?

We believe that great companies start with extraordinary entrepreneurs, partnering with the most successful early-stage venture firms to invest in the Series B and Series C financings. Many of our portfolio companies have emerged as leaders in rapidly growing markets. Among them are companies like Aster Data (Teradata), Bill.com (BILL), FireEye (FEYE), 41st Parameter (Experian), Infinera (INFN), MoPub (Twitter), Opcity (News Corp), Palo Alto Networks (PANW), Proofpoint (PFPT) and Teladoc (TDOC).

How is the firm different today than when you first started?

When we launched the firm in 2003, it was with the goal of becoming a best-in-class venture firm at Series B and C investing. Our focus has been to continuously polish and improve our investment model while adapting to the many changes we have seen over the last 18 years. Though our roots have always been in Silicon Valley, with today’s collaboration tools we have widened our aperture geographically, while still maintaining a tight-knit organization focused on world-class entrepreneurs and extraordinary co-investors. Earlier this month we announced a global expansion of our footprint with new operations in Dublin and Toronto in addition to our presence in Tokyo.

Why is your firm a part of NVCA?

Venture capital is strategic to our economy and global competitiveness. A healthy venture ecosystem drives innovation and job creation – our portfolio alone has generated 34,000 new jobs. The NVCA is essential to protecting the health of our industry. They guard against legislation that has unintended adverse consequences for the venture community, support immigration legislation to increase our talent pool, and bring awareness to the need for diversity within the venture capital/entrepreneurial ecosystem. It should be the duty of every venture capital firm to recognize the great efforts of the NVCA and provide them the support they deserve.

What’s ahead for your firm in 2021?

In 2021, we are expanding our global footprint with a new office in Dublin to focus on investments in Europe and a new full-service recruiting operation in Toronto to help portfolio companies build world-class engineering teams. Europe has established itself as a market with exceptional talent and the innovative products needed to create great companies. Our Canadian Engineering Talent Program is a turnkey service for Icon portfolio companies to recruit and establish their operations in Canada while capturing significant cost savings.  This program has already demonstrated great results for our portfolio companies. It is our job to continually look for more ways to seek the best investment opportunities and support our companies in as many ways as we can.

Describe your firm’s culture in 5 words or less.

Though not five words, we do have five guiding principles as a firm:

  • Human capital is more precious than financial capital.
  • A team connected can accomplish extraordinary things.
  • When stressed, we help create space.
  • All of our companies matter, regardless of their journey.
  • The measure of a venture firm is most evident by how they deal with challenging situations.


NVCA Member Spotlight is sponsored by American Express

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