Midas List 2007

The Midas List
Erika Brown and Claire Cain Miller 01.25.07, 6:00 PM ET

Forbes‘ annual Midas List ranks the top 100 dealmakers in technology and life sciences based on the exit valuations of the companies they have taken public or sold in the past five years. Last year, 460 venture-backed firms were sold or taken public for a total of $35 billion, the best year for cash-outs since 2000.

These are heady times indeed for the venture capital market. Venture firms raised $25 billion in new money last year. In the past three years, the length of a typical investment cycle, they have raised $75 billion. Expect plenty of blockbusters–and grand busts–in the near future.

The Internet continues to dominate the Midas List rankings, thanks to Google‘s (nasdaq: GOOG news people ) meteoric rise since its initial public offering in 2004–its stock went from a market capitalization of $27 billion on its first trading day to $150 billion today–and video site YouTube’s $1.65 billion acquisition by Google in November. Credit for both those mega-deals goes to partners from Sequoia Capital (Michael Moritz and Roelof Botha), a firm that reaffirms its iconic status year after year.

The Google phenomena marks the return of the angel investor and confirms that microinvestments of a few thousand dollars can turn into billions. Andreas von Bechtolsheim, David Cheriton, Ronald Conway and Ram Shriram all advised and invested in Google’s entrepreneurs before the first official venture rounds.

Also topping the 2007 Midas List are the venture capitalists behind three Chinese hotshots: search engine Baidu.com, (nasdaq: BIDU news people ), Semiconductor Manufacturing International (nyse: SMI news people ) and Web auctioneer Alibaba.

Rounding out the global wins are Internet phone company Skype (Luxembourg) and job Web site Naukri (India), both of which landed their investors on the Midas List. If new deals are any indication of future exits, we will soon see many more acquisitions and IPOs of fledgling firms from China, India, Korea and Eastern Europe.

Health care dealmakers saw noticeable gains on this year’s Midas List thanks to Merck‘s (nyse: MRK news people ) acquisitions of GlycoFi and Sirna Therapeutics, as well as device makers that combat cancer (Rita Medical) and blood clots (MicroVention).

Another trend: New, younger dealmakers are making strides on the Midas List. Roelof Botha (No. 23), Ryan Drant (No. 47), Ryan Limaye (No. 71), and Daniel Rimer (No. 25) are all in their early- to mid-30′s and have already achieved great success. Watch for them to reappear on future Midas Lists.

A word on our methodology: The Forbes Midas List seeks to identify individuals who deploy venture capital to create wealth for their investors and build valuable, long-lasting companies. Only tech and life sciences companies that have gone public or been acquired within the past five years are considered. Our ranking formula ignores the original amount invested in a deal (as it is often undisclosed), instead weighing most heavily the market capitalization of a venture-backed company on the close of the first day of trading or the final closing price of an acquisition. A lesser weight is given to the change in value of each investment since going public or being sold. Ranking also depends on a candidate’s length of involvement in and depth of influence on a company.

Our results are based on extensive reporting and surveys sent to thousands of professionals, including angel investors, bankers, lawyers and venture capitalists. Please note that the bios for this year’s Midas List may include references to deals that are not counted in the Midas ranking.