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Venture Capital Winners of 2011

Did someone say economic slump? Not in Silicon Valley. The initial public offerings of LinkedIn (LNKD) and Groupon (GRPN) brought billion-dollar paydays* to venture capital firms New Enterprise Associates, Sequoia Capital, and Greylock Partners, while Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is expected to profit handsomely from Zynga’s IPO on Dec. 16.

For venture firms that missed out on those highfliers, plenty of money was made on vacation-rental site HomeAway (AWAY), which helped Redpoint Ventures crack the year’s top 10. Khosla Ventures was the only investor to make a splash unrelated to the Web with its majority ownership of KiOR (KIOR), a biofuel maker that is valued at over $1 billion even though the company has yet to generate a penny of revenue.

As eyes turn to next year, IPO envy mounts for Accel Partners, which could rake in more than $10 billion, thanks to a 2005 investment in a little social-networking company known at the time as Thefacebook.
* Profits reflect company share price on Dec. 12

Levy is a reporter for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.

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