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News  |  October 12, 2021

K1 Named to Inc.’s Top Founder-Friendly Investors in 2021

FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS, Inc.‘s Founder-Friendly Private Equity Firms list has shined a light on the PE outfits that support founder-led companies through both good times and, well, global pandemics. This year, we had an epiphany while compiling the list: Private equity firms don’t have a monopoly on being founder-friendly. Venture capitalists are people too.

The good news: Whether your company is seeking venture capital or private equity, there’s no shortage of dollars to chase. During the first half of 2021, U.S. venture capital fundraising reached $66 billion in commitments, setting a record for capital raised during the first two quarters of a year, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. Private equity fundraising grew to $218 billion in commitments, the highest figure in a decade. Surprisingly, there’s perhaps never been a better time for business owners in need of investment capital.

Of course, the only money that comes without strings is money you find in the couch. Accept private equity, and the conversation inevitably turns to whether you should remain as CEO post-investment. “It could be that making your company grow from $0 to $10 million is something that only you could have done, but helping your company grow from $10 million to $100 million is not something you have the skills to do, and you need help,” says David Snow, co-founder of Privcap Media, a creative agency for private equity firms and No. 4,571 on the 2021 Inc. 5000 list. “That should be a candid conversation that takes place at the outset of negotiations.” A candid conversation, that is, between your investors, your company–and you.


Inc.‘s Founder-Friendly Investor list comprises firms identified by our editors or submitted to us through an application process. To confirm those firms’ commitment to investing in entrepreneur-led companies, we gather data on how their portfolio companies have grown and extensively interview entrepreneurs, including those who’ve exited, on their experiences with the firms. On that basis, we produce a proprietary score that determines the private equity, growth equity, and venture capital firms whose missions most significantly support startups and the men and women who found them.

See the full list here.

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The awards and designations presented on this website are the opinion of the respective parties conferring the award or designation and not of K1 Investment Management (“K1”). No such person conferring any of the listed award(s) or designation(s) is affiliated with K1 or is an investor in K1-sponsored vehicles.

The “Founder-Friendly Investors” award is a program designed by Inc. Magazine to help founder-led companies accelerate growth and create revenue. Private equity and venture capital firms that have exited U.S.-based, founder-led portfolio companies are eligible to apply. For investments to qualify, portfolio company founders must have remained actively involved in their business for at least one-year post-investment. Winning firms are selected based upon their track record, reputation, leadership and founder references.  K1 is not aware of the number of advisers also surveyed for the award. Like all entrants, K1 paid a fee to be considered for this award and to use the award logo in collateral materials. This award is not to be construed as indicative of K1 future performance. Reference to an award is only one piece of information relevant to an evaluation of an investment adviser such as K1. Finally, this award represents information as of a specific date and time and may not reflect important information related to an evaluation of the investment adviser which has occurred prior to, or subsequent to, the award.

The receipt of compensation influences, and is likely to present a potential material conflict of interest, relating to any granted award or designation. There can be no assurance that other providers or surveys would reach the same conclusions as the foregoing.