December 21, 2022

A look back at 2022: Slow and steady wins the race

Dive into the latest perspectives, insights,
and updates from our global community.

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It was a rollercoaster year

Undoubtedly 2022 was a rollercoaster year. A year meant to mark the end of a two-year pandemic came with its own set of new challenges and opportunities.

Here at NGP Capital, we continued to invest in the world’s most promising B2B software companies after launching our fifth fund in February. Fortunately, this allowed us to back more extraordinary founders, support our portfolio companies to navigate the storm and celebrate wins together.

We're excited about what next year will bring and are cooking up many exciting new initiatives, but first, we want to take a moment to look back at some of our highlights from 2022.

Fund V to back category-defining B2B founders

We started the year strong by announcing our Fund V - $400 million to back next-generation B2B software icons. This fund will allow us to invest in even more companies from Series A onwards and help them grow into the industry leaders of tomorrow.

With a focus on verticals such as edge cloud, logistics tech, cybersecurity, and enterprise software, the new fund enabled us to continue investing in category-defining companies and working with talented founders as they scale their businesses.

Growing our global portfolio

We were thrilled to have welcomed 8 new companies into our community. Now, let’s revisit why these companies got us excited:

  • The future of AI is not about human replacement but human augmentation, where AI applications are starting to go into production and humans are in the backend, validating, correcting, monitoring, and enhancing the algorithm results. This is where Dataloop comes in - the leading platform for AI data management and annotation announced a $33 million round led by NGP and Alpha Wave Ventures, with existing investors joining.
  • SVT Robotics, whose software orchestrates and simplifies the integration and deployment of robots within warehouses and factories, has become a category leader in industrial robotics within four years of inception. The company has created an agnostic integration platform called SOFTBOT, allowing its customers to connect any robot to any enterprise solution, in a matter of days. In this founder interview, the CEO and co-founder of SVT Robotics shared his journey and his top enterprise sales tips.
  • Spacefill, the French logistics scale-up, disrupts the warehousing market by connecting mid to enterprise-sized customers with warehouse partners. Its platform enables customers to build, visualize, manage, and optimize their logistics networks, all-in-one place with just one integration. Spacefill raised €25M in a round led by NGP Capital alongside Maersk Growth with existing investors Eurazeo and La Famiglia also participating in the round.
  • There’s been rapid growth in recent years in the adoption of cloud services and modern DevOps processes, necessitating a new approach to how organizations manage their secrets i.e., credentials, certificates, and keys. No wonder then, Akeyless – a SaaS-based secrets management platform for securing DevOps and IT workloads bagged $65M in fresh capital in a round led by NGP Capital with participation from existing investors Team8 Capital and Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP).
  • Nova Labs, is the name of the company that launched the initial technology behind the popular blockchain-enabled decentralized Helium Network. The company is on a mission to pioneer decentralized wireless communications, including IoT and 5G networks. The company announced a $200m Series D with NGP participating alongside a16z, Deutsche Telekom, and Tiger Global among others, and we wrote about why we invested here.
  • Most industrial companies fail or struggle to deploy advanced data analysis processes into their business, to solve this pain point, Synergies has developed a new analytics platform for industrial companies. The Shanghai HQ’ed company, raised $12m Series A round from NGP and others, to accelerate the adoption of augmented analytics to manufacturing.
  • As more companies are rethinking their approach to managing the merging of marketing, sales, and customer success, a new solution is needed to support this shift. Based on this premise, we were excited to back - a revenue intelligence and operations platform with a mission to empower teams with a new integrated “Front Office” for modern selling. We led their $28.5m Series B with participation from existing investors Canaan Partners, Emergent Ventures, and BGV.
  • From design to production, Jihu Gitlab’s platform covers the entire process of DevSecOps. The China-based startup empowers teams to deliver better software faster, through its localized solution. The company raised a Series A round from NGP in April.

Some became unicorns & others made acquisitions

And zooming in on portfolio companies, 2022 was a big year for three of our portfolio companies that achieved “unicorn” status: Immuta, Scandit, and Nova Labs.

Considering, the number of companies reaching the $1B valuation mark significantly decreased globally this year, we were particularly proud to see these three companies defy the odds and gain that momentum.

What’s more, while the public markets got shaky and investments slowed down, our portfolio raised $500 million in follow-up rounds while Perception Point and RetailNext both announced new business expansion through acquisitions.

It's been a volatile year for the ecosystem, so this is a testament to their innovative businesses and strong management teams. We're confident that they'll continue to thrive despite market turbulence.

We listened to the data

Being the data junkies that we are, we also dived into some data courtesy of our AI platform Q and published two deep dives.

First, we looked at the increased investor appetite for backing more purpose-driven startups and the underlying factors behind the trend. One of the most interesting findings from the report was that climate and clean energy remain top of mind for both founders and investors as the total funding raised by companies tackling these two issues reached over $23B globally.

Then, as news of mass layoffs in public tech companies started to gain momentum, we looked into the state of startup jobs to understand how this was impacting early-stage companies’ hiring intentions. The analysis showed open job positions declined by 40% since February 2022, with roles within B2C companies down by nearly 60%, compared to 40% within B2B.

Our AI-deal flow engine, Q. also grew the number of startups it monitors by 1 million to a whopping 2.6 million startups around the world across 1000+ data points.

We re-connected with our community

Lastly, after a long hiatus of in-person events, we were happy to finally connect with our community across cities and continents by hosting events in Palo Alto, Berlin, and Helsinki.

Talking about community, while we are a distributed team across three continents and 6+ cities, we welcomed several new NGP’ers to our team including Fernanda in Berlin, Eric in Palo Alto, Sam in London, and Nathalie in Palo Alto. And we celebrated the promotions of Divya to Principal, Jacob to Principal, Hui to Vice President, and Paige to Portfolio Manager.

May 2023 bring the magic back

There is no denying 2022 was a challenging year for the tech industry, but despite the obstacles, we remained optimistic and continued with our mission of partnering with exceptional founders and welcoming more talented new members to the NGP Capital community.

We’re excited about all that 2023 has in store and we can’t wait to see what our portfolio companies achieve in the coming year!

Photo by zero take on Unsplash