venture capital

Recent Research: Lessons from the first cleantech bubble and the role of venture capital and governments in clean energy

From 2005 to 2008, the clean technology industry experienced a venture capital boom where the share of total VC investments in clean energy technologies tripled before falling dramatically. Many studies have concluded that the boom and bust in cleantech as an equity investment focus was because clean energy does not fit the venture capital “model.” A recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research explores other possible reasons for the failure of venture capital to remain interested in clean energy.

Are specialized VCs special?

A recent analysis by PitchBook attempts to assess whether venture capital funds that specialize in a specific technology sector outperform generalist VCs or VCs that are targeted but not quite “specialized.” In short, the answer is no, at least as measured by financial return.

Useful Stats: Investment deals by size per state, 2012-2021

While the overall U.S. venture capital market has drawn headlines for record-breaking total investment levels in 2021, the story has been far different for smaller deals. Data currently suggests a decline in deals under $1 million, and only modest growth for deals under $5 million. The final data may tell a slightly different story,[1] but the level of activity at the smaller end of the spectrum is clearly quite different than what is driving market coverage. Of the $335 billion in angel, seed and venture capital deals PitchBook has identified for 2021, more than 10 percent went to deals of $1 billion or more and almost 60 percent to deals worth at least $100 million.

Useful Stats: Venture Monitor reports record-breaking year for VC deals

The Pitchbook-NVCA Venture Monitor Q4 2021 reports unprecedented growth in venture capital activity through 2021. Although total deal count had decreased by almost 2.5 percent from 2019 to 2020, deal activity in 2021 surpassed that of both 2020 and 2019 – showing that 2021 saw substantial growth from pre-pandemic levels.

Recent Research: The role of alumni networks in VC fundraising

Loyalty to alma maters matters financially beyond March Madness™ and college sports betting, it turns out — to such a degree that policy makers, venture development organizations and university seed funds hoping to attract equity investments for local innovation startups should pay considerable attention to the educational attainment section of founders’ LinkedIn profiles or resumes. Additionally, seed and VC funds organized in part for economic development goals may want to tap alumni networks from the regions’ institutions of higher education to identify potential investment partners, according to a recently released working paper from a trio of professors in Iowa, Texas and Michigan.

Initial venture capital data: $330 billion invested, $128 billion raised

PitchBook and NVCA have published an initial look at the Venture Monitor Q4 2021, and the data already suggest an astounding level of activity in 2021. As of Dec. 31, PitchBook had identified $330 billion invested across more than 15,000 deals, substantial increases over the $167 billion invested across 12,000 deals in 2020. The increases were driven by venture capital stage investments (as opposed to seed and angel investments), which accounted for 80 percent of the additional deals. Firms raising new venture funds also did very well in 2021, with 730 funds raising $128 billion — up from $87 billion in 2020. These data are preliminary and will be updated when PitchBook and NVCA publish the formal Venture Monitor for 2021, which SSTI will then cover in detail (including by sharing state-level investment activity).

Venture capital on pace to break all kinds of records in 2021

The PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor Q3 2021 reports eye-popping investment activity through the first three quarters of the year. So far this year, the total venture capital market has invested more than $238 billion across an estimated 12,000+ deals, more than 1,300 exits have yielded more than $580 billion in value for investors, and 526 funds have raised more than $96 billion. Most of these metrics have already broken all previous annual records.

Feeding opportunity

The emerging innovation-intensive sector of urban farming is seeing heightened interest by venture capitalists, investments are growing faster than the crops: $2.4 billion so far this year at last count by PitchBook. That reflects a year over year (YoY) investment growth rate of 214 percent.  The number of individual deals also is rising 14 percent YoY. The sector is expected by many market analysts to capture an increasing share of the nation’s food supply for a number of reasons. Most notably, the historic drought in the western half of the U.S. is likely to have significant impact on the region’s agricultural industry, which currently accounts for up to 70 percent of the region’s water use.  Additionally, consumption of fresh vegetables tracks closely to income inequality and access to full service grocery stores and farmers’ markets, resulting in “food deserts” for many lower income neighborhoods. Thirdly, an ever increasing share of the world’s population is living in urban areas.

Venture capital increasing adoption of environmental, social, & governance (ESG) principles

Increased adoption of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles has been empirically linked to improved financial performance, but venture capital (VC) has fallen behind other sectors in embracing such measures. With more than $100 trillion in assets under management (AUM) already being managed according to the ESG framework globally, a recent article by Johannes Lenhard and Susan Winterberg provides some guidance on how VC can improve in adopting ESG principles, while also giving some pointers to limited partners (LPs) in VC funds, regulators, and company founders — the groups that have been the drivers of what little ESG adoption VC has experienced.

VCs invest at historic levels, but deal funnel shifting

The PitchBook-NVCA Venture Capital Monitor for the first half of 2021 reveals that the market is set to break a number of investing records, but strikingly, the record levels of investment activity are all being set by the later stages of investment. At the other end of the funnel, activity is increasing, but not at the same pace as the overall market.


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