Union Square Ventures

Union Square Ventures
Type of business Private
Founded 2003
Headquarters New York City, New York, U.S.
Key people Fred Wilson, Managing Partner
Brad Burnham, Managing Partner
Albert Wenger, Managing Partner
John Buttrick, Partner
Andy Weissman, Partner
Website www.usv.com

Union Square Ventures (USV), is an American New York-based venture capital firm, that manages assets totaling $1 billion as of March 2016.[1] The firm is one of the top returning venture capital funds in the world, its 2004 fund returning 13.91 times cash-on-cash with an IRR of 67.0%.[2] The firm has had a billion dollar exit every year since 2011 including Zynga ’11 at 7.7B, Indeed ’12 at 1.4B, Tumblr ’13 1.1B, Twitter ’13 at 14.2 B, Lending Club ’14 at 5.42B, Etsy ’15 at 1.78B and Twilio ’16 at 1.23B.[3] Additionally, the firm's founder Fred Wilson, who is well recognized as one of the best venture capitalists in the world,[4] has acquired a celebrity status in the tech world stemming in part to his blog AVC.com[5][6][7][8]


Union Square Ventures was originally founded in 2003 by Fred Wilson (a former partner of Flatiron Partners) and Brad Burnham (a former Executor in Residence with AT&T Ventures). The two men created USV with the intent of investing in and fostering the development of early-stage companies.[9] Their investments are “mostly U.S.-based Internet and mobile companies considered to be ‘disruptive’”.[10]

In 2007, Albert Wenger, the former president of del.icio.us, joined the firm as a partner. The team was rounded out by the subsequent additions of John Buttrick and Betaworks founder Andy Weissman.

USV is one of a handful of firms that regularly included in Red Herring’s lists of top venture capital firms.[11]

In 2011, USV was deemed as being the best performing VC in the US based on investment return rate.[12]


Among USV’s notable early-stage investments are:


  1. Union Square Ventures Site,"About Page" Mar 17, 2016
  2. Moz "Rise of the Celebrity Investor" Nov 07, 2010
  3. TechCrunch "The Top 20 VC Power Bloggers of 2010" Jan 19, 2011
  4. "TechStars""Fred Wilson Bio" Jan 18, 2014
  5. "Ad Age""NYC's Top VC Fred Wilson is Rich…and Grumpy" Apr 17, 2011
  6. "New York Times"A New Kind of Venture Capitalist Makes Small Bets on Young Firms" Sept 22, 2008
  7. Wall Street Journal,"Union Square Ventures Rides Twitter and Tumblr Exits on Fundraising Trail" Nov 21, 2013
  8. Red Herring "Maximizing Venture Capital Investments" May 1, 2012
  9. Business Insider "It's Official: Union Square Ventures Is The Top VC in the World" April 9, 2011
  10. TechCrunch, "After 5 Years of Bootstrapping, Behance Nabs $6.5M From US, Jeff Bezos, Dave Morin & More" May 14, 2012.
  11. Variety, "Samsung Buys Internet Set-Top Startup Boxee" July 03, 2013.
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Union Square Ventures Portfolio". Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  13. Business Insider, "Fred Wilson- Here’s Why I’m Investing in Bitcoin" May 09, 2013.
  14. Weiss, Geoff. "CrowdRise, Ed Norton's Charitable Social Network, Raises $23 Million". Entrepreneur Media, Inc. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  15. Business Insider, "This Was The First Defining Investment We Ever Made" May 23, 2011.
  16. Shontell, Alyson (4 May 2011). "Disqus Raises A $10 Million Round And Closes In On 500 Million Monthly Uniques". Business Insider. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  17. Forbes, "Duolingo Gets $15 Million To Translate The World’s Text Through Online Learning" Sept 17, 2012.
  18. PE Hub, "Etsy Raises $40M From Index, Union Square, Burda" May 09, 2012.
  19. Mark Evans Tech, "FeedBurner Taps Union Square" Feb 07 2006. Archived February 1, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. The National Post, "How a Tweet Led to Toronto Medical Photo App Figure 1 Getting Backing from Union Square Ventures" Aug 26, 2014
  21. Gigaom, "Flurry Rides the Mobile Boom, Raises $25M with Eye Toward IPO" November 02, 2012.
  22. Business Insider, "Foursquare Raises $1.35 Million, Led By Union Square Ventures" Sept 04, 2009
  23. Venture Beat, "UK-based Funding Circle raises $37M to fund American small businesses" Oct 23, 2013
  24. Business Insider, "Indeed, An Almost Entirely Bootstrapped Job Search Giant, Gets A Monster Exit" Sept 25, 2012.
  25. All Things D, "Kickstarter Fesses Up: The Crowdsourced Funding Startup Has Funding, Too" Mar 17, 2011.
  26. Venture Beat, "Meetup Raises Undislosed sum From Union Square Ventures" July 24, 2008.
  27. Bloomberg Business Week, "MongoDB Now King of NYC Startups With $1.2 Billion Valuation" Archived February 22, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Oct 04, 2013.
  28. "Vivendi Buys Majority Stake In Winamp, Shoutcast Owner Radionomy". Variety. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  29. "Shippo raises $7 million to further its goal of being Twilio for shipping". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  30. PERLROTH, NICOLE. "Many Win in Offering, but Some Are Off List". NY Times. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  31. Venture Beat, Square Ventures, Spark Capital Invest in Work Market," June 14, 2010.
  32. AllThingsD, "Google Ventures Bets on Mobile Ad Startup YieldMo"," December 5, 2013.
  33. Beta Beat, "Zynga’s IPO is a Fund Maker for Union Square Ventures" July 01, 2011.
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