Venture capital has fueled some pretty important tech companies in recent years — from WhatsApp (backed by Sequoia) to Zulily (backed by Maveron and others).
But interestingly enough, it may not be quite as important as you think. According to research released this week by CB Insights, 66 percent of tech companies that sold in 2013 never took any institutional money, meaning venture capital or private equity.
Those stats come as the tech M&A and IPO market heated up last year, especially in the second half of the year as activity surged 46 percent for private tech mergers and acquisitions and 63 percent for IPOs. In total, there were 534 M&A deals and 23 IPOs in the fourth quarter alone.
Another interesting tidbit from the report: Massive deals like Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp or the Zulily IPO are rare, with just one percent of exits coming in at more than $1 billion. (Zulily, as we reported earlier this week, continues to rip up Wall Street after a strong earnings report. It now has a market value of more than $6 billion).
In fact, 45 percent of exits occur for less than $50 million, and about three quarters come in at less than $200 million.
Of those companies that did raise money, 46 percent of acquisition transactions occurred with those companies that raised less than $10 million. Twenty nine companies that were acquired or went public raised more than $100 million prior to exit.
Here’s a look at the transaction trends over the past few months, showing how the IPO market heated up in the latter half of the year. Zulily raised about $145 million in its November IPO.