Currently ranked: 24
Previously ranked: PNR
“We’re not your typical investment manager,” proclaims the website of hedge fund firm Two Sigma Investments — the beginning of a description that reads more like that of a technology company than of a financial firm, filled with references to machine learning and distributed computing. It was from this atypical investment firm that Two Sigma Ventures was born in 2012.
And TSV isn’t your typical venture capital fund — or your typical fintech player. “We decided at the very beginning not to be vertically focused,” explains TSV founder and partner Colin Beirne, who leads a core team of 13 that is augmented by several Two Sigma–connected venture partners. “We are entirely focused on financial returns,” as an independent venture firm would be, he says. Nor does TSV consider itself a strategic investor, seeking out partnerships that necessarily tie into what Two Sigma Investments does — though the 1,200-employee parent’s vast expertise in data science and related disciplines is available to TSV and its portfolio companies.
Some of TSV’s 50-plus investments — such as business insurance provider CoverWallet, smart bot and intelligent assistant start-up Kasisto, and digital identity verification company Socure — fit within fintech, but the portfolio ranges farther afield, with machine intelligence and data analysis as common themes. It cuts across such holdings as machine vision start-up Compound Eye; mobile advertising firm Placed; apartment search engine Renthop; drug discovery group Verge Genomics; personal scheduling assistant x.ai; and robotics developers Anki, Jibo, and Rethink Robotics.
Beirne worked in technology investment banking and corporate strategy at Lehman Brothers before joining Two Sigma in 2005. He says the firm began organizing TSV in 2011 when it recognized the value of its “powerful group of in-house experts” in the rapidly growing technology ecosystem of New York, second only to Silicon Valley in venture investing. TSV lifted its sights beyond financial services because “we believe in data as a force in the world, which will change every industry,” Beirne says. As he explains, trends in machine learning and other emerging tools “will affect every industry over time.”