The Q4/EOY 2019 Global VC Report: A Strong End To A Good, But Not Fantastic, Year

According to Crunchbase projections, over $1.5 trillion was invested in venture capital deals, worldwide between 2010 and 2019, with most of that coming in just the past few years.

In 2019 alone, Crunchbase projects that roughly $294.8 billion was invested in nearly 32,800 deals across the venture spectrum – from tiny pre-seed and “sprout” rounds to supergiant pre-IPO technology growth deals struck with private investors before a public market debut.

Crunchbase projects that there were 8,183 venture rounds struck in Q4 2019, down slightly from an all-time high set in the third quarter.

Since the first quarter of 2018, total projected venture deal volume has hovered in a rough range of 7,500 to 8,500 rounds per quarter and hasn’t experienced notable upward or downward movement on a consistent basis.

Crunchbase projects that roughly $80.74 billion were invested worldwide in Q4 2019, up from last quarter but still below all-time highs set in 2018.

Like with deal volume, global venture dollar volume has plateaued in the past couple years, which is somewhat expected given how late into the current bull cycle we find ourselves today.

Because of the highly variable nature of large funding rounds (which can extend into the $100 million to $1 billion-plus range) the quarter-to-quarter fluctuations are more pronounced, but the overall trend is clear: startups in the rest of the world are raising more, and rising fast on the global stage.

Looking at the investors who have led the most deals over a given period of time is one way to identify some of the most active players in the venture game.

Most deals in Crunchbase’s funding rounds data list the investor(s) which led the transaction.

In the chart below, we show the number of early and late-stage rounds led by the most active lead investors in the venture world in 2019 as a whole.

From there, we’ll proceed up the capital stack, ending with the late-stage venture and pre-IPO private equity deals that typically cap off the financial histories of private companies before they graduate to raising from public markets.

Crunchbase projects that 20,434 angel and seed-stage rounds took place in all of 2019, setting a new record for worldwide deal volume at this stage.

Throughout 2019, Crunchbase projects that $6.84 billion was invested in angel and seed-stage deals, up 5.5 percent from the prior year.

Reported data from Crunchbase indicates that angel and seed-stage deals continue to grow in size as more capital flows upstream.

And here are some of the most active investors in angel and seed-stage deals, worldwide.

Seed-stage deals in particular are subject to reporting delays for many reasons: stealthy startups want to stay stealthy, small rounds may fail to garner press attention, and/or a company may not have yet created a Crunchbase profile and disclosed their funding history.

Reporting delays are a factor in all sets of private market investment data, and the numbers (or even ranks) reported above are likely to change as historical deals get added to Crunchbase data over time.

Crunchbase projects a total of 9,892 early-stage deals were struck in 2019, worldwide.

The past year saw a total of $48.95 billion in early-stage funding, according to Crunchbase projections.

In Q4 2019, Crunchbase projects that 60.2 percent of the early-stage dollar volume and about 58.7 percent of the deal volume was invested in startups in the rest of the world – up from 51.9 percent and 54 percent, respectively, in Q4 2018.

With deal volume on a slight downtrend, the only reason dollar volume is growing is due to larger early-stage round sizes.

What’s interesting to look at here isn’t the average, which can be skewed by outliers, rather it’s the median, which measures the statistical midpoint of a distribution, in this case the set of early-stage rounds raised in any given quarter.

In general, a rising median value over time suggests that, here, the number of companies raising early-stage rounds today may be lower but the amount of capital they do raise is higher than it was before.

(Again, early-stage deals are subject to reporting delays and these numbers are likely to change as historical funding rounds are surfaced and added to Crunchbase over time.)

In both cases, late-stage venture and technology growth deals are typically meant to fund more mature companies as they either continue to grow or seek to stabilize prior to raising from public markets or seeking an acquirer.

The projected 572 late-stage venture deals and 55 technology growth deals in Q4 2019 made up 7 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively, of total investment transaction volume last quarter.

The roughly $42.35 billion in late-stage venture dollar volume for Q4 2019 represents about 52.4 percent of total projected dollar volume for the quarter.

The $4.15 billion invested in Q4 2019’s technology growth deals accounts for 5.1 percent of dollar volume.

Relative to the start of the year, the global late-stage venture market ends 2019 in a slightly better position, but still significantly lower from the high-flying days of 2018.

The projected $42.35 billion in Q4 2019 late-stage venture dollar volume is nearly 13 percent lower than the same quarter’s total from last year.

And, as promised, here are the annual numbers: 2,450 late-stage and technology growth deals occurred in 2019, according to Crunchbase projections, setting a new annual record.

Crunchbase projects that for all of 2019, a cumulative $165.78 billion was invested across late-stage and technology growth deals.

Here we find full-year 2019’s only marked sequential decline: down $38.5 billion, or 18.8 percent, from 2018’s all-time high of $204.28 billion in combined late-stage venture and technology growth dollar volume.

Reporting delays are less pronounced at late stage, but these numbers may shift slightly as new data is added to Crunchbase over time.

Initial public offerings (IPOs) and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are the two traditional paths to liquidity for private market investors, and that’s what we’ll primarily focus on here.

It’s sometimes possible for early investors and employees to sell their shares on the secondary market, without an exit for the company as a whole, but these transactions typically go unreported and, accordingly, are rarely surfaced in private company funding data.

For at least the past year, Crunchbase News has acknowledged the decline in M&A volume for venture-backed startups.

Projections are based on historical patterns in late reporting, which are most pronounced at the earliest stages of venture activity.

Technology Growth includes private equity investments with participation from venture investors.

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