Seattle is sometimes called the younger sibling of Silicon Valley when it comes to startups, and it’s true that Seattle’s startup scene has historically been smaller and more modest than its West Coast neighbor. But some of the numbers are telling a different story.
An analysis of tech startup Series A funding rounds for the first seven months of this year shows that deals in Washington state are are coming in at a similar valuation, about $25 million, and deal size, about $10 million, as those in the Bay Area, according to PitchBook data compiled by Silicon Valley Bank.
The numbers remain larger in the Bay Area when looking at all stages of startup investing, but the Series A numbers so far this year tell a different story.
“Historically, you’d see larger Bay Area rounds in the earlier stage,” said Minh Le, the market manager for Silicon Valley Bank’s Washington and Western Canada region. “It’s very interesting.”
Le and Steven Pipp, the research manager who co-authors SVB’s quarterly State of the Markets report, join us on this episode of the GeekWire Podcast to talk through the numbers and trends in startup funding. Listen to the podcast below.
As explained in that report, the number of Seattle-area startup deals involving Silicon Valley investors has more than doubled in the past decade, according to data from Dow Jones VentureSource. Silicon Valley firms participated in 69 investments for Seattle-area startups in 2017, up from 28 deals in 2009, representing 39 percent of the 178 venture deals in the Seattle region last year.
Cloud data storage company Qumulo is a great example of the larger trends, Pipp said. The startup was founded in Seattle six years ago with early support from investors including Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group. Qumulo has now raised $230 million.
“By 2015, they were attracting investment from the Bay Area, and now in 2018 they’re following a couple of nationwide trends that we’re seeing across the country,” Pipp said. “One, raising from international investors… and also from cross-over investors,” who would typically be investing in the public markets, he said. Chinese firm Northern Light invested in the company’s recent $93 million round, as did financial company BlackRock.
That whopping $93 million round points to another trend across the board: More rounds that hit extremely high dollar amounts.
“You’re seeing later-stage, larger rounds happening,” Le said, and Seattle is no exception. So far in 2018, the region has had about ten venture rounds of $50 million or more. That’s more than in the previous three years combined. The region has also seen a slate of companies that went public this year, including Smartsheet and Avalara.
Those are some of the trends we explore on this week’s show. Listen to our full conversation with Pipp and Le in the player above, or subscribe to the GeekWire Podcast in your favorite app to get every episode.