venture capital

Congress reveals COVID bill with $10 billion SSBCI

The U.S. House of Representatives is working through the coronavirus relief package in committee markups this week, and there are several provisions that could have a significant impact for regional innovation economies. The highest-profile of these is $10 billion for a new State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) program. Reauthorizing this program has been a top priority for SSTI's Innovation Advocacy Council, as SSBCI was one of the federal government’s only sources of funding for equity investments in the past two decades.

Women and VC: Despite some progress, women-founded and -led companies hit harder by 2020 pandemic

While venture capital (VC) deal activity by women-(co)founded and women-led companies has increased over the last 15 years by some metrics, a new report indicates that the 2020 pandemic and global recession impacted these companies more than companies founded and led by men. In the second edition of its annual All In Report, PitchBook expands on its efforts to shed light on the dynamics of women’s participation in the VC market. While participation in the VC market was impacted for companies founded and led by men and women in 2020, the report highlights the impact on women-founded and -led companies by showing recent declines in nearly every measure used in the report compared to nearly constant pre-pandemic trends in increased deal count, deal value, company valuation, and exit rates by women-founded and -led companies.

Useful stats: Later-stage VC has a banner year, uncertainty about early stages

Deals raising at least $50 million grew by nearly one-quarter in 2020, driving an additional $18 billion in deal value to a new record of $156 billion invested. This data, from the PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor, suggests that the total venture capital market will see a slight decline in investment deals overall from 2020.[1] This slip in deal activity is driven by what is currently an 11 percent decline in seed or angel deals and a 20 percent decline in early venture capital deals.

Recent Research: Social connections more important than geography in accessing investment capital

The strength of personal relationships and social connections are the most important factors for accessing capital markets according to a recent working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Theresa Kuchler, Yan Li, Lin Peng, Johannes Stroebel, and Dexin Zhou — using a novel modeling system and index of “social connectedness” — conclude that physical, geographical proximity has long served as the primary proxy for measuring how the social connections among firms and investors across geographies affect access to capital markets and investment decisions. These findings may have far reaching impacts for businesses from any region—not just those closer to investment hubs—as well as for entrepreneurial support organizations and other stakeholders seeking to strengthen their local innovation communities.

Seed and initial financing deals dive in Q2

The PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor Q2 2020 shows that COVID-19 is having an impact on the earliest parts of the venture capital funnel. By extrapolating the first half data through the rest of 2020, initial investments are on pace for a 26 percent decline from 2019, and the fewest total deals since 2010. Continuing this same extrapolation, seed investments are on track for a 36 percent decline in 2020 from 2019 and also the lowest level in at least seven years. Meanwhile, angel investments are on track to finish the year comparably to last year, and late-stage VC investments are on pace for a stronger year than 2019.

Lighter regulation would allow banks to return as LPs

Banking regulators recently announced new rules, effective in October, that will allow banks to invest in venture capital funds. These arrangements had been barred by the “Volcker Rule,” which was put in place after over-leveraged banks caused a global financial crisis in 2008. A statement by the National Venture Capital Association praised the change and predicted a “significant impact on entrepreneurial capital formation … particularly in emerging ecosystems.”

UK, France, Germany commit $8.1 billion for startups

Earlier this week, the United Kingdom announced a £1.25 billion ($1.6 billion) initiative to support the country’s startups. One program within the initiative provides £500 million in the form of loans up to £5 million that are matched by private funders to companies that have raised at least £250,000 in the last five years. The remaining £750 million will be managed by Innovate UK and provide loans and grants to R&D-focused companies. The U.K. is not the only European country to invest in startups: France announced a plan in March to spend €4.0 billion ($4.3 billion) through a combination of refinancing, early payments on tax credits and planned investments, and guarantees, and Germany has €2.0 billion ($2.2 billion) committed to funds that continue making investments.

Q1 venture capital data shows promise, but slump expected Q2

The PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor for Q1 of 2020 shows just a few signs of investment activity slowing down. The high and low ends of the VC spectrum appear particularly robust, with the number of angel (653) and mega (62) deal counts both almost exactly on track to match 2019’s figures. Seed deals (335) appear to be behind, at about 50 percent of last year’s pace — although reports of these investments often lag well behind when they occur, and early-stage VC deals (634) are also well behind the pace of the last several years. On the fundraising side, total funds closed were down from last year’s pace by about 20 percent ($21 billion into 62 funds). Q1 included only a few weeks of COVID-19’s national presence, and the next report will likely tell a much fuller story of the pandemic’s impact for equity investment.

NYT declares tech “humbled” but overreaches on underlying data

A recent New York Times article points to high-profile stumbles by tech startups, particularly underwhelming IPOs by billion-dollar companies and thousands of people laid-off, and declares “start-up bloom deflates, tech is humbled.” As SSTI expressed concern about in the past, the trends of equity capital being invested at later stages, companies remaining private for longer, and (relatedly) valuations inflating beyond reason, have clearly set up the broader venture capital market for high-profile failures.

Useful Stats: VC continued to be about big bets in 2019

PitchBook and NVCA’s Venture Monitor for 2019 largely depicts continued trends from 2018: $100 million-plus investments, $2 million-plus average for angel and seed deals, and more than 10,000 investments of more than $100 billion. In a few cases, 2019 data suggests average deal sizes may have peaked in 2018, but more time is needed to clarify the trend. At the state level, California’s lead in VC deals continues to be eaten away by the next 10-15 most active states, while those in the bottom two-thirds of the country by deal volume continue to show limited growth.


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