If there's anything VCs love to do, it's congratulate themselves. It's a running joke that investors love to talk about adding value to startups, helping them achieving liftoff, or whatever other buzzwordy, congratulatory term they can think up for their work. But it's not all sunshine and rainbows in the VC world. The website VC Guide allows founders to anonymously review VC's they've worked with on a scale from 1-10 and provide a description of their interaction with them. We scraped VC Guide's review data recently to find out who the worst investors of the bunch are, and came up with some big names like Jason Calacanis and Lucy Guo, to name a few.

But what about the flipside of the coin? Could there be VCs that actually add value and live up to the lofty standard set by industry buzzwords? We flipped the switch on our "worst VCs" list to find out the 10 investors founders love working with. Across the board for this list, you'll notice that the top-rated VCs tend to have fewer reviews than our previously lowest-rated ones, probably because founders feel more compelled to speak out when they've had a garbage experience than when they've had a lovely one. 

How the data works: 

For each VC, we’ve listed three metrics: Average Score, Sentiment, and Review Count. The first and last ones are self-explanatory - Average Score is an average of all the reviews any given VC has. Sentiment, however, is a little more complicated. Our sentiment rating uses a tool for Python called VADER to quantify how the language in any given review skews. In short, it analyzes the language used in all the reviews for a VC and gives them a score ranging from -1 (overwhelmingly negative) to 1 (overwhelmingly positive).

Also worth noting is that our data is up to date as of September 17, meaning that any reviews added or removed since then are not reflected in our table or in our scores. This is why you may see a review count lower or higher than what VC Guide currently displays. We have also excluded any VCs with only one review in order to get a more complete sample. You can access our aggregated data here.

10) John Cowgill

Firm: Costanoa Ventures

Avg Score: 9.5/10

Sentiment: 0.89

Review Count: 2

John Cowgill of Costanoa Ventures squeezes into our top 10 list with two glowing reviews that call him "simply, one of the good ones." What's striking about Cowgill's reviews as compared to others on this list, and especially those on our "worst" list, is that the kindest reviews in his favor are from investors that he ended up not backing at all.

"John went out of his way to be helpful and fair to us, even though Costanoa didn't end up investing," one 10/10 reviewer wrote. "He brought analytical and strategic thinking that ultimately impacted the direction of our business...This guy is a rising star in the VC world - still young, but I'd place my bets on John being one of the most respected names in VC down the line."

Cowgill apparently doesn't just stop at giving advice, however. multiple reviewers have stated that he's helped them reach out to other VCs who may be more interested in their businesses.

"John is a smart, supportive and self-aware investor. He gives useful feedback and has made multiple introductions, despite not being on our cap table," another reviewer wrote. 

There may be truth to the first reviewer's statement that Cowgill is on the rise in the VC world, as he's had two other 10/10 reviews sprout up since we scraped VC Guide.

9) Harry Stebbings

Firm: 20 Minute VC

Avg Score: 9.5/10

Sentiment: 0.87

Review Count: 2

Young, superstar investor and podcaster Harry Stebbings managed to get in this list slightly above John Cowgill. His succint reviews, however, give off a similar impression as Cowgill's - that Stebbings is someone who gives great thought and care to each founder he meets and works with, and has developed a reputation as a team player.

"Harry is the most big-hearted investor and friend you'll ever meet!" one reviewer enthusiastically said. "Super-connector (despite somehow living in London), goes out of his way to help."

Another reviewer was impressed with his know-how given his age:

"Kind of insane how smart he is for how young he is?? He's going to be one of the best VC's in the next 10 years — calling it now."

8) Lachy Groom

Firm: Angel Investor

Avg Score: 9.8/10

Sentiment: 0.73

Review Count: 5

Lachy Groom, another young investor who made his name as a teen entepreneur, rings in with 5 reviews, all of which sing this investor's praises. Like the two previous entries, Lachy's reputation is that of someone who goes out of their way to be helpful and truly adds value.

"Best investor I've ever worked with. Kind, fiercely intelligent, and changes the trajectory of your business and life," one reviewer wrote. "Have worked with investors with much bigger names there were not even a tenth of as helpful as Lachy."

All five reviews echo similar feelings, but the final one sums up the mood of nearly every review for every investor on this list: bewilderment that there are good VCs out there.

"Every interaction with Lachy has been nothing less than stellar. I've also never heard anything bad about him - which surprises me, that's not supposed to happen."

7) Eric Chen

Firm: OVO Fund

Avg Score: 9.8/10

Sentiment: 0.4

Review Count: 5

With five reviews, Eric Chen of OVO also clocks in with the highest number of reviews in our top 10 list. Reviewers who have written about Eric frame him as someone who genuinely cares about newcomers to startups and Silicon Valley in particular, and is willing to lend them an ear without judgement.

"There have been many instances of Eric being unquestionably in the founder's corner, particularly for first time founders," One reviewer wrote. "He's the kind of guy that founders can be okay with asking the "dumb questions" and still know that he's on your side."

Everyone loves to joke about VCs congratulating themselves for "adding value" to startups and not recognizing the transactional nature of their relationship with fledgling businesses. But Eric Chen is an exception to the stereotype, according to founders.

"I would say he is one of the few VCs who doesn't have the ego to believe that they are doing something special other than allocating capital and that awareness makes him an exceptional resource," another reviewer wrote.

6) Xuezhao Lan

Firm: Basis Set Ventures

Avg Score: 10/10

Sentiment: 0.53

Review Count: 2

Xuezhao Lan of Basis Set Ventures is, according to reviewers, always eager to get down-to-business. Some might see someone who is succint and to-the-point as rude, but Lan's reviewers seem to appreciate her no-nonsense approach and hope to see her attitudes reflected by other VCs. Above all, Lan's reviewers portray her as someone who knows exactly what she wants, and is able to identify value that others may skip on.

"Lan comes to her conviction quickly and closes the deals she wants in a very short time," one reviewer said. "As an investor, she is always there to support you."

Despite a no-nonsense attitude, Lan has managed to keep a reputation as one of the kinder VCs in the business. One reviewer sung her praises and gave some advise for would-be partners: "She was extremely helpful for me during my ideation phase. Her team at BSV is also very nice to work with. P.S. If you get a chance to stop by the office, have some of the espresso it's fire ;)

5) Steven Lee

Firm: Bain Capital Ventures

Avg Score: 10/10

Sentiment: 0.8

Review Count: 2

We're beginning to notice a trend on this list: that VCs whom founders love are helpful beyond and regardless of their cash contribution.  A "good" VC by VC Guide's standards is one who is willing to help founders even if their business is not the right fit for their portfolio. Steven Lee at Bain Capital is apparently one such VC.

"I met Steven several years ago when he was evaluating an investment in my company. Although we didn’t work out a deal, I have found him to be a high integrity investor with a great network that I can rely on," one reviewer wrote. "Every time we chat, he always gives me direct and helpful feedback."

Among those he does invest in, Lee has a few return clients.

"Was an incredibly supportive investor for my last two startups. Steven will be the first investor I plan on calling when i am ready to build something new in the future."

4) Niko Bonatsos

Firm: General Catalyst

Avg Score: 10/10

Sentiment: 0.85

Review Count: 2

Again repeating the trend of useful VCs, Nick Bonatsos has developed a reputation for being very friendly to new founders and making introductions even if he does not ultimately invest in a business. One reviewer called Bonatsos "the most friendly to cold-emails VC there is."

For some reviewers, Bonatsos helped bridge the gap between first-time founders and late-stage experience. "Niko brings the credbility and network of late stage investors to early stage companies," one reviewer wrote. "He's helped us think through fundraising strategy, product strategy, and hiring strategy. He has a great reputation, and my experience is that he's as good as everyone says he is."

Bonatsos clearly appeals to many, as our initial data scrape pulled up two reviews, though VC Guide now has several more under his name. All of them are positive.


3) Chris Ahn

Firm: Index Ventures

Avg Score: 10/10

Sentiment: 0.71

Review Count: 2

Many VCs will invest in fledgling companies and hover around them like helicopter parents, eager to shape them into a mold of their choosing. Others are content to invest and step back, letting the original founders go through the motions and allow the natural progression of things to take their course. Chris Ahn of Index Ventures lies somewhere in between, offering an extreme helping hand to startups but only if they ask for it or need it.

"Chris is a great investor because he is a great INVESTOR," one reviewer wrote. "This means he spends time thinking and doing things that are high value to our business which we as operators can't or aren't best equipped to do. He's brilliant, high integrity, and a steady hand. He's a true partner."

2) Ben Ling

Firm: Bling Capital

Avg Score: 10/10

Sentiment: 0.86

Review Count: 2

Ben Ling of the hilariously named Bling Capital has more going for him than his unbelievably large biceps. Underneath all that brawn is heart, as Ling has clearly developed a reputation for being a very caring investor who is eager to help his companies succeed. Whereas most investors will look to bolster a businesses' strengths, Ben appears to add value by helping grow the weak spots to a healthy state.

"Ben supported us when no-one else would and guided the company into a strong series A. He picks up where you're weak as a founder and spends the effort to help you improve." one glowing review reads.

"I can't say great enough things about Ben. He's the type of investor you want on your side. Won't sleep until you get your first 1000 investors," yet another enthused reviewer wrote. "Will hop on a call at any time of the day or night if you need anything. One of the few investors who really cares about his founders and will take the time to ensure your success." 

If you want someone to help you navigate the muddy waters of venture capital, Ling appears to be your man.

1) Amanda Robson

Firm: Cowboy Ventures

Avg Score: 10/10

Sentiment: 0.88

Review Count: 2

Despite ranking in as our definitive "best" VC on the list, Amanda Robson's two reviews on VC Guide are short and sweet. Like many others on this list before her, Robson appears to approach interviews with thorough research and emotional intelligence, willing to help founders navigate the world of venture capital and truly add value to a business.

"Amanda has been an absolute pleasure to work with. Extremely helpful, lots of great feedback, and asks lots of questions we frankly should've been asking ourselves already."

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.

Ad placeholder