Turn a blind eye Bonkers. shocking.
Those are just some of the words industry watchers are using to describe the level of venture capital investment in 2021, a year that saw a record $330 billion in 17,054 deals in the US, more than it invested in 2020. The recall was also a record year for venture capital investing, according to the company you may have had nearly double the amount gone. Venture Monitor Pitchbook and National Venture Capital Association report.
There are certainly a lot of dollars flowing into startup companies – everything from crypto to clean tech to health care.
And Washington state got its fair share, too. According to the report, $8.5 billion was invested in 549 deals in 2021 – a 77% increase over the $4.8 billion raised in 401 deals in 2020.
Even more surprising, huge rich valuations are being affixed to relatively young companies raising $100 million or more in blockbuster megadeals. As GeekWire reported on Thursday, there are now 16 unicorn startups — privately held companies valued at $1 billion or more — operating in the Seattle area. Together, that group of companies raised more than $2.5 billion in 2021—a figure that surpasses total venture capital investments in Washington state for 2018.
Even more interesting, nine of those unicorns—Emperity, Chronosphere, Helion, Highspot, Caret, Place, Rec Room, Red Power Bikes, SeekOut—were mined in the past 12 months. This trend continues globally as well, with CB Insights tracking 959 unicorns, of which 517 were “born” last year. No wonder Anand Sanwal, founder of CB Insights, called the past year “bonkers”.
“It’s crazy, but you have to play in the environment,” said Aviel Ginzburg, general partner at Founders Co-op in Seattle. “As a VC, we don’t pick sports. We get to make our moves inside the game and you always have to react.”
Ginzburg, whose portfolio includes Seattle-area Unicorn Outreach, Karat and Emperity, said he’s not sticking his head in the sand and overlooking deals, but he’s trying not to go crazy with excessive optimism. Huh. (Editor’s note: Ginzburg is our guest on this week’s GeekWire podcast, so stay tuned for all his comments on the current market for venture investing, as well as his thoughts on hot startup topics like Web3, NFT, Metaverse and more. (Tune in on Saturday mornings and subscribe to the podcast here).
Here are the top nine venture capital deals in Washington state in 2021, according to the Venture Monitor report, with links to GeekWire stories.
- Helion Energy, $500 million raised, $3.7 billion valuation.
- Umoza Biopharma, $210 million raised, $660 million valuation.
- Outreach, $200 million raised, $4.4 billion valuation.
- Maybe Monsters, $200 million raised, valuation not disclosed.
- Chronosphere, $200 million raised, $1.3 billion valuation.
- *HighSpot, $200 million raised, $2.3 billion valuation.
- Convoy, raised $157 million, a valuation of $3.95 billion.
- **Red Power Bikes, $354 million raised, $1.6 billion valuation
- Cap Hill Brands, $150 million raised, valuation not disclosed.
- *HighSpot raised $248 million in venture capital this week, valuing the company at $3.5 billion.
- **Red Power Bikes raised $354 million in 2021 in two separate rounds.