When CNBC editors finished compiling the Disruptor Top 50 list for this year, there was one big surprise. Thirteen of the 50 start-ups on the list had a common investor: Fidelity Investments, the mutual fund giant. Among them Uber (CNBC Disruptor No.1); Airbnb (No. 2); Snapchat (No. 16); Oscar (No. 17) and Spotify (No. 25).
You might not think of a mutual fund as an entity that would take the risk of investing in technology start-ups, but Fidelity has been putting money into private companies for years, said Andrew Boyd, head of global equity capital markets, who oversees private investment for Fidelity. In fact, he said, Fidelity was a pre-IPO investor in Facebook.
TechCrunch, a site that tracks technology-oriented venture capital investments, lists 50 active investments by Fidelity, including Uber, Airbnb, 23andMe, Snapchat, Spotify, SpaceX and Pinterest, among others, in its CrunchBase database. Fortune has identified investments in biotech and in consumer businesses, like Blue Bottle Coffee and electronic cigarette maker NJOY.