Venture capital investing hits 10-year peak, sparking bubble talk


Despite hiccups in the IPO and M&A markets, venture capitalists were still mighty busy in 2011. Investors in privately-held companies sunk $30.6 billion in 3,051 companies last year, the largest dollar and deal total in the past 10 years, according to a report out today from CB Insights.

Just by comparison, in 2010 VCs invested $23.7 billion in 2,792 deals. The boom in venture capital investing led CB Insights to predict that the “bubble talk will shift into overdrive.”

Perhaps that’s the case in New York or California or Massachusetts, each of which saw upticks in fourth quarter investing over the previous period in 2010.

But, in Washington state, things weren’t quite as robust with deal volume down for the third straight quarter.

The report shows that VCs invested just $146 million in 24 deals — a decrease in the number of deals and only a slight improvement over the $119 million invested in the fourth quarter of 2010. That lackluster investment pace caused the authors of the report to write that they plan to reinstate the “Sleeping in Seattle” metaphor for the region.

New York, by comparison, saw $568 million invested in 73 deals during the fourth quarter. California, which remained the behemoth of venture capital investing with 52 percent of all dollars invested and 40 percent of the deals, saw $3.8 billion flow into 300 companies during the fourth quarter.

The CB Insights report comes a few days after the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters released figures showing that 38 venture funds raised 5.6 billion during the fourth quarter. That was a 41 percent decrease in the number of funds raising money, but a 162 percent increase in dollars.

Full report from CB Insights here:

Venture Capital Report – Q4 2011