$77.3B in Total Venture Capital Invested in 2015, Report Finds; VC Trends to Look for in 2016

Even though the total amount invested by venture capitalists (VCs) grew for the fourth straight year to nearly $77.3 invested, Pitchbook analysts contend that 2014/2015 was the peak of the VC industry for the foreseeable future. While high valuations drove up the total amount invested, the number of deals plummeted during the second half of 2015 according to new data from Pitchbook.  In addition to insights from Pitchbook, other analysts contend that the declining trends of 2015 should remain through 2016.

Crowdfunding, Accredited Investor Definition Changes May Shape Startup Investing in 2016

In late 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released two rule changes that may shape the future of equity investments in startups and small businesses. The two new rules directly address issues related to the accreditation of investors – an important element of the angel investment ecosystem that has long driven early stage investments in startups. In December, the SEC released a report on proposed changes to the definition of accredited investors. In November, the SEC released its rules for Title III of the JOBs Act that allows startups to raise equity from both accredited and non-accredited investors through a publicly solicited crowdfunding campaign. The new rules will allow equity crowdfunding to go into effect in May of 2016.

Median Seed Pre-Money Valuations Increase to $4M, Highest Ever in HALO Report History

Angel group valuations and deals continued to rise through the third quarter of 2015, according to the most recent HALO Report, a publication of the Angel Resource Institute at Willamette University in Oregon. While median angel-only round sizes were $500,000 in both the first and second quarters of 2015, the third quarter saw this amount increase 45 percent to $725,000. Through the third quarter, median seed pre-money valuations increased to $4 million, a 33 percent increase from 2015, and the highest valuation in the Halo Report to date. Other notable findings in the report include:

Academics Weigh the Benefits of Bank, VC Financing for Startups

Bank or venture capital (VC) financing? This is one of the toughest questions that aspiring entrepreneurs and small firms must answer. A recent academic study contends that VC financing may be the superior financing structure for early stage capital. However, several other studies contend that both bank and VC financing can help create and grow successful startups. For potential entrepreneurs, each provides strengths and weaknesses that are highlighted in the studies.

Universities Build Diverse Partnerships to Fund Startups

In the face of declining state funding and drawn-out budget negotiations, universities are moving beyond traditional budget procedures to secure funding for their economic development activities. Over the past few months, several universities have leveraged new sources of public and private funds to establish seed funds for university technology. These efforts are intended to increase the number of businesses emerging from their respective educational and research programs and spur regional economic prosperity.

Greater Cleveland Partnership Announces Investment in New $20M JumpStart Fund

To support the growth of Northeast Ohio’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) announced a limited-partner investment in JumpStart's new for-profit $20M venture capital fund. Co-investing alongside other VCs and private-sector investors, the JumpStart NEXT Fund will invest in Ohio-based companies that need to raise $2 million to $8 million in private capital to continue their growth.

Wharton School Study: Impact Investment Funds Achieve Results Comparable to Market Indices

Findings suggest that – in certain market segments – investors might not need to expect lower returns as a tradeoff for impact, according to a new study from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania – Great Expectations: Mission Preservation and Financial Performance in Impact Investments. In the study, researchers look at two of the most important aspects of impact investing: financial returns and long-term impact. The study explores the widespread assumption that impact investment private equity funds cannot achieve market-rate financial performance.

SEC Adopts Rules to Permit Equity Crowdfunding for Non-Accredited Investors

On April 5, 2012, President Obama signed Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) into law with the intent of helping small businesses and startups raise capital through several changes to long-standing securities regulations, including a change that would allow companies to raise equity from both accredited and non-accredited investors through a publicly solicited crowdfunding campaign (Title III of the Jobs Act). However, it took over three years for the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to finally adopt the rules that will permit companies to offer and sell securities through crowdfunding. The new rules also include amendments to existing Securities Act rules to facilitate intrastate and regional securities offerings. Final rules include:

TBED Around the World: Measures Seek to Increase Venture Capital in EU, China

In an effort to increase the proliferation and participation of venture capital firms across the 28-nation European Union, changes are needed at the institutional level, according to the capital markets union plan unveiled last month. The plan, which was presented by EU Financial Services Commissioner Jonathan Hill, seeks to standardize rules across the EU, create tax incentives for venture capital investment, and create a pan-European fund-of-funds to invest public money in EU venture capital projects.              

SUNY Research Foundation Seeks Information on University-Focused Venture Investment

The Research Foundation for State University of New York (SUNY) is seeking feedback regarding the translation of SUNY research and innovation into meaningful startup company formation, acceleration and growth through targeted venture investing. In particular, the foundation seeks ideas on how SUNY could connect research experts to entrepreneurial leaders, advisors, or mentors in order to build upon emerging industry sector strengths. The group plans to use this information to open a dialogue to better understand the breadth of strategies for university-related venture investing that can be designed and implemented. Once completed, this request for information (RFI) RFI may lead to further partnership discussions including, but not limited to, the development of a venture fund committed to developing SUNY technology for both strategic impact and financial return.  Read the RFI...


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