The U.S. venture capital industry is on pace for a record-breaking year.
The latest PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor report shows $28.2 billion flowing into 1,683 U.S. venture-backed companies during Q1 of 2018, the highest dollar amount since 2006. It’s the fourth consecutive quarter with more than $20 billion invested.
It follows a record 2017, when venture deal value surpassed $80 billion for the first time since the dot-com era.
“As we look ahead to the rest of the year, 1Q appears to be indicating a strengthening exit environment, which would bring liquidity to LPs and could lead to an uptick in fundraising, and in turn lead to even higher levels of investment activity,” Bobby Franklin, president and CEO of NVCA, said in a statement. “All of which means that venture investors are well-poised in 2018 to continue investing in and supporting the growth of young, innovative companies that strengthen the U.S. economy.”
Unicorns, or companies valued at $1 billion or more, raised a combined $7.2 billion last quarter and accounted for more than 25 percent of the total capital invested.
While overall capital invested is increasing, there are fewer deals completed.
“This new normal of sustained rise in capital deployment and fewer completed deals is a continued trend from 2017,” the report noted. “Fewer companies receiving funding and at higher valuations has in turn corresponded with increased median deal sizes across all stages.”
The median early-stage deal was $9.2 million last quarter, up 3.1X from five years ago, and the median late-stage deal was $15 million, up 2.1X.
“While median time to exit has certainly increased, we’ve noticed VCs have distributed capital back to LPs at a record pace, which is reflective in the larger exits that have come to market,” PitchBook CEO John Gabbert said in a statement. “The venture industry is poised to continue its healthy pace of dealmaking, especially when combined with the increased participation of non-traditional investors and the boost in pre-seed capital.”
Venture capital firms raised $7.9 billion across 54 funds during Q1, led by Norwest Venture Partners’ $1.5 billion fund and Battery Ventures’ $800 million fund. That was lower than 2017 levels, which the report credited in part to “growing demand for micro-funds with niche strategies or regional focuses.”
There was $592 million invested across 49 deals for the Seattle region during Q1, compared to $377 million across 80 deals in the year-ago period. The 49 deals was the lowest amount in more than five years. The Bay Area saw $10.4 billion invested across 303 deals. The Boston region saw $2.8 billion invested across 131 deals.