- Index Ventures had seven portfolio companies worth over $1 billion go public this year.
- The most valuable are Roblox and Robinhood, which went public at $42 billion and $29.3 billion.
- Index’s Roblox stake was worth $3.42 billion, enough to return its Growth III fund almost 5x.
Last spring, some 25 years after Neil Rimer launched Index Ventures with his father, Gerald, his firm collected on the biggest exit in its history: a $3.42 billion stake in Roblox.
The return on its investment was a venture-capital holy grail, enough to pay back its Growth III fund — which closed at $706 million — almost five times, according to our analysis.
The exit is one of several so far this year that has cast Index into the limelight, as rival firms raise massive funds from their limited partners to invest in startups. Index’s record of picking winners led it to raise $3.1 billion this year for new funds.
So far in 2021, seven companies backed by Index went public at a market cap above $1 billion, according to PitchBook data provided exclusively to Insider. The most valuable companies include Roblox, Robinhood, and Confluent.
The firm’s historic run of exits is impressive, but even more so are the returns it’s garnered this year.
Roblox is the firm’s most valuable public exit. Index had 10.8% ownership of the gaming company before it went public in March, according to a regulatory filing. That stake became worth $3.42 billion at the stock’s market debut, and now Roblox is trading about 30% above its initial asking price.
Rimer led the firm’s investment in Roblox in a $92 million round in 2017. (He would later kick himself for not investing sooner, having known Roblox cofounder David Baszucki since their days at Stanford.) In a blog post, Rimer described the company as a “21st-century Disney” that could redefine entertainment and “human interaction.”
Jan Hammer, a general partner at Index, helped the firm get in early on another of its portfolio companies that went public this year. He wrote a $500,000 check to Robinhood eight years ago, and urged his partners to follow-on in subsequent rounds. The firm became the largest institutional investor in Robinhood before its public market debut. The firm’s 11.8% stake was worth more than $3.2 billion at the stock’s opening price of $38.
Hammer also led the firm’s investment in Ayden, a Dutch payments company that went public in 2018.
Since its founding, Index has made more than 1,000 investments in 650 companies. Of those, about 60 have gone public, while at least another 167 have merged or been acquired, according to PitchBook data.
To date, the most highly valued portfolio companies are Facebook and, which today are worth around $1 trillion and $27 billion, respectively. Index had less than 5% ownership in each before they went public, regulatory filings show.
Index’s streak will continue if Plaid goes public this year. The fintech was supposed to sell to Visa, but the companies called off the deal in January after regulators refused to approve the acquisition and instead sued to stop it.
Investors like Index weren’t too disappointed. They told Insider that Plaid was worth more than the $5.3 billion price it had in the acquisition, as the pandemic accelerated adoption of its tools and other fintech services.
They were right. The startup raised new funding months later at a valuation of $13.4 billion.
“The timing is less important than the size of the outcomes,” Mark Goldberg, a partner at Index, told us in January. “Our view is that while we had a bird in hand with Visa, a little patience will really pay off in the long run.”
The firm’s other unicorn companies include Figma, Discord, Scale AI, and ServiceTitan.