Propelled by a massive financing round in upstart Seattle biotechnology company Juno Therapeutics, venture capital investments in the Pacific Northwest soared during the fourth quarter as just over half a billion dollars was invested in 45 deals. Juno raised $120 million in a series A financing round in early December, and then added to the total earlier this week with another $25 million from Venrock, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and others. (That deal will likely be counted in the Q1 totals).
That Juno deal alone accounted for about one quarter of the venture capital money invested in the Northwest during the quarter. At $120 million, it also was one of the biggest during the fourth quarter nationally, ranking fourth in size behind Pinterest, Palantir and MongoDB. But Juno was just one of the big deals in the Pacific Northwest during the quarter, with Seattle-based Redfin pulling in $50 million in November.
The fourth quarter marked the biggest VC haul in the Northwest since 2007.
The trend lines were pretty positive nationally for 2013, with $29.4 billion invested in 3,995 deals. That was a seven percent increase in dollars, and a four percent increase in deals, according to the MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.
“Advances in technology continue to revolutionize how companies engage their customers on nearly every level and has changed the landscape of virtually every industry,” said Mark McCaffrey, global software leader and technology partner at PwC. “Consumers can see how innovation is changing their lives in the internet and software spaces and are eager to embrace technology at a faster and faster rate.”
VCs also have been encouraged by the strong performance of IPOs, including Seattle companies such as Tableau, NanoString and Zulily. 2013 saw 222 companies go public, the best year for IPOs since 2000, according to Renaissance Capital’s IPO review.