Great Lakes Angels Invested More Dollars Than CA Angels, Halo Report Finds

In 2014, Angel groups in the Great Lakes region invested more dollars than anywhere else in the country, 17.2 percent of the U.S. total, including angel groups in California (17 percent). This marks the first time a U.S. region other than California led in dollars invested by angel groups since the Halo Report has started to track angel investments.  Rob Wiltbank, an author of the report, indicated that the Great Lakes region’s activity was driven by several large investments made by angel groups. The Angel Resource Institute’s 2014 Annual Halo Report data is based on 870 deals totaling $1.65 billion in total rounds including co-investors.

Venture-Backed Exits Fall to Two-Year Low

Only 17 companies had initial public offerings (IPOs) in the first quarter of 2015, the lowest number since the beginning of 2013, according to data from Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA). This is a significant drop from the 37 IPO exits in the first quarter of 2014. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) were also down, with 86 exits, compared to 115 in Q1 2014. While 2014 was an unusually active time for venture-backed exits, the current data appears to be a return to recession-era levels of deals and disclosed values.

Equity Crowdfunding Reaches Milestone with Announcement of New SEC Rules

Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted final rules to update and expand Regulation A, an existing exemption from registration for smaller issuers of securities.  The new Regulation A+ will enable smaller companies to offer and sell up to $50 million of securities in a 12-month period, subject to eligibility, disclosure and reporting requirements. Under Regulation A+, there are two tiers of offerings that companies may make that include:

Commerce Dept Names 26 Recipients of Regional Innovation Strategies Grants

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the first 26 recipients of the 2014 Regional Innovation Strategies program grants. Managed by the Economic Development Administration, the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program is designed to advance innovation and capacity-building activities in regions across the country through three different types of grants:

UK Government, Pharma Companies Launch $100M Alzheimer’s Disease Venture Fund

In partnership with several major pharmaceutical companies, the United Kingdom’s (UK) Secretary of Health Jeremy Hunt announced the creation of the $100 million Dementia Discovery Fund. The UK government-led venture fund will support innovative research across the globe to help find new ways to prevent and treat dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Private sector partners that already have agreed to invest in the project include Biogen, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Lilly and Pfizer. One of the UK’s largest Alzheimer’s-focused foundations, Alzheimer’s Research UK, also will commit funding to support the development pioneering new drugs to treat the condition. Read the press release…

Social Impact Investing Reached $12.7B in 2014; UPenn Announces SII Partnership

One hundred Twenty-five  impact investors worldwide reported plans to increase impact investing commitments by 19 percent in 2014, from 10.6 billion in 2013 to 12.7 billion in 2014, according to a J.P. Morgan-Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) info briefImpactbase Snapshot: An Analysis of 300+ Impact Investing Funds. The report provides an overview of over 300 funds operating across three key themes: geographic focus, asset class type, and target impact theme. The data for this study was collected from ImpactBase platform – an online database of over 300 social impact investment (SII) funds. Key statistics include:

Cambridge Study: European Online Alternative Finance Markets Grow 144 Percent in 2014

As firms around the world continue to seek funding outside of traditional sources of capital, it has become increasingly difficult to track these emerging markets. That’s why in November the University of Cambridge and the professional services organization EY launched the European Alternative Finance Benchmarking Survey with the support of other major European industry associations, the largest study to-date on crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, and other forms of alternative finance in Europe. The study, which opened in late November 2014 and ran until early January 2015, ultimately received input from 255 crowdfunding or peer-to-peer lending platforms across 28 European countries. Highlights from the first year of the research study include:

Useful Stats: Share of U.S. Venture Capital Investment by State, 2009-2014

California-based companies received about 56 percent of all U.S. venture capital dollars in 2014, the state's highest share of venture activity since the dot com boom of the early 2000s. Over the past 15 years, investment activity has steadily become more concentrated in California and a few other states. In 2009, about 67 percent of all deals and 74 percent of venture capital dollars flowed to the top five states. By 2014, those states' share of venture dollars grew to 80 percent, according to NVCA/Pricewaterhouse Coopers data. A recent Harvard Business Review article, however, suggests that startups are receiving first-round funding in more metropolitan areas than ever.

MA Adopts Crowdfunding Exemption; Is AZ Next?

Less than two months into 2015, Massachusetts and potentially Arizona will join the growing number of states that have adopted intrastate crowdfunding exemptions – one of the emerging trends in economic development from 2014.  In January, the Massachusetts Securities Division adopted a crowdfunding exemption that will allow businesses to raise up to $2 million in equity from both accredited and non-accredited investors.  A similar exemption was introduced in early February to both the Arizona state Senate and House with strong bipartisan support and the approval of several key business leaders and organizations. Minnesota (SF 138) and Colorado also have recently proposed or introduced intrastate crowdfunding legislation. However, both may face a difficult path to approval due to stronger opposition from key organizations and leaders within the state.

Is There a Crisis in Seed Stage Venture Capital?

The first wave of year-end 2014 data on U.S. venture investment painted a portrait of a resurgent capital market. Investment activity reached its highest level of activity in a decade, finally shaking off the stagnation of the Great Recession (see last week’s article). Within the data, however, there were some concerning trends. The PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)/National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) Moneytree data indicated that while later-stage investments and megadeals drove the 61 percent one-year increase in total VC dollars, seed stage dollars fell by 29 percent.


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