In terms of venture capital, 2016 was a great year to determine whether you’re a glass-half-empty or a glass-half-full kind of person.
According to the latest PitchBook report from the National Venture Capital Association, released today, venture capital firms invested $69.11 billion in U.S. startups last year.
Now, either that’s a big letdown for you because the numbers represent a drop of 12 percent from the $79.3 billion invested in 2015, or it’s still pretty awesome because it represents the second largest year in at least the past decade.
“As companies stay private for longer than ever, the venture capital markets are maturing accordingly,” said PitchBook founder and CEO John Gabbert in a statement. “After a couple years of frenzied investments and lofty company valuations, the venture capital ecosystem is moving away from a financing peak and returning to a normal, healthy investment climate.”
Naturally, the NVCA takes the optimistic view of the $69.1 billion invested across 7,751 companies. And it notes that venture firms, even if they paused to take a breath last year, still raised $41.6 billion across 253 funds. That’s the most in the past decade. Firms raising funds above $1 billion last year included Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Greylock Partners.
On the pessimistic side of the ledger: The number of funding deals was 8,000, down 22 percent from the previous year. In part, that was a sign of VCs trying to be a bit more cautious. But it was also driven by a 30 percent drop in first-round fundings. It’s another sign that big players continued to suck up VC investment for later rounds, perhaps at the expense of newcomers.
Looking ahead, with VC firms reloading and renewed hope that the IPO market may show signs of life in 2017, the NVCA remains confident that this is promising to be another big fundraising year.
“The large amount of capital raised for deployment to the ecosystem, as well as optimism surrounding the IPO pipeline, are all positive signs as we look ahead,” said Bobby Franklin, president and CEO of NVCA, in a statement. “Given the 2016 election results and the venture industry’s return to normal, 2017 will prove a pivotal year for venture investors and the startups they support.”