Not sure exactly right now, Cambridge Associates may have the exact number. They like to dabble inconsequential statistics to portray a comprehension of cause. The precise definition of a venture capitalist is very much up for debate, especially now that virtually everyone can act like one, short of ever producing a viable venture-style return.
Pre-2001 bubble, the original number in the United States was somewhere around 794 if I recall correctly, which post-bubble turned into a lot of walking-dead firms. But it wouldn’t surprise me if we were closer to that same number again, with so many firms – stuck in the sub-priming of their own making – desperately chasing the returns of a few.
Short of the notion that asset-managers I talk to as limited partners and investors in venture capital have not seriously turned positive towards venture capital. But their allocations are a musical chair game of asset-class escapism anyway and are not adjusted to a well-thought-out methodology of risk to decide when to get back in.
Not sure about your reason for asking, but very few venture firms produce repeatable monolithic venture-style returns to their investors. Most emperors of Silicon Valley wear no (venture) clothes. So if your question is used to assign a value to the number, assess the value of the ecosystem, or assert which venture firm has merit, I’d say about two hands-full of venture firms have any repeatable merit today.
Finding an outlier of innovation requires an outlier venture firm, not what Silicon Valley is full of. A very few firms make all the money the others can only hope for. So, as an entrepreneur, be assured to follow your compass, not those of venture firms whose merit of foresight you cannot assess.