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Global Venture Capital Activity Picked Up in First Quarter

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Global venture capital-backed deal activity increased in the first quarter, with 2,420 deals recorded worth a combined $31 billion, alternatives data provider Preqin reported this week.

Deal activity was ahead of that in the third and fourth quarters, but below the $40 billion recorded in last year’s opening quarter.

KPMG noted in a January report that after the strong start to 2016, investor optimism quickly waned and purse strings tightened in the second half.

“The venture capital industry has been seeing a period of consistent, strong deal activity over recent months,” Felice Egidio, Preqin’s head of venture capital products, said in a statement.

“The first quarter of 2017 is another robust quarter in this vein, but some will wonder if the industry can match the heights seen in 2015 and 2016. Activity slowed in the second half of last year and has yet to fully regain momentum, perhaps due to the ever-increasing competition presented by retail and strategic investors.”

Now, PitchBook foresees a year of resurgence for U.S. venture capital in 2017.

Preqin also reported that 277 exits took place in the first quarter for a combined $17 billion, again below the year-ago level. Of these, 166 exits took place in North America, accounting for $14 billion.

Three U.S. companies had the biggest exits. AppDynamics Inc., acquired by Cisco Systems on Jan. 17, was valued at $3.7 billion; Snap Inc. was valued at $3.4 billion in a partial flotation on March 17; and ZELTIQ Aesthetics Inc., acquired by Allergan on Feb. 17, was valued at $2.5 billion.

Key Q1 Facts

North America accounted for 39% of deal flow and 47% of total value in the first quarter, with 946 deals worth a combined $15 billion, according to Preqin.

Greater China saw 456 deals through the quarter (19% of the total), which were worth a total of $9 billion (29% of the total).

In the U.S., 40% of venture capital-backed deals occurred in California, 14% in New York, 9% in Massachusetts and 4% each in Texas and Washington.

Angel/seed stage investments comprised 30% of venture capital deals in the first quarter, down from 35% across 2016.

Series D/Round 4 and later financings represented 4% of deal flow. The average value of deals at this stage was $89 million, up from $86 million across 2016, but down from $94 million in 2015.

Internet-related deals accounted for 25% of deal value, followed by health care at 19%, telecoms at 17% and software at 16%.

First-quarter exit activity included 26 IPOs for a combined $5.1 billion — largely owing to Snap’s $3.4 billion partial flotation. By contrast, 221 trade sale exits totaled $11 billion.

Following are the largest venture capital-backed deals announced in the first quarter, according to Preqin:

  • Zhejiang Koubei Network Technology Co., China, telecoms, $1.1 billion
  • Flipkart Internet Private Limited, India, internet, $1 billion
  • GRAIL, Inc., U.S., biotechnology, $900 million
  • Verily Life Sciences LLC, U.S., life sciences, $800 million
  • Ucar, China, telecoms, $668 million
  • Snap Inc., U.S., telecoms, $500 million (PIPE investment)
  • Social Finance, U.S., financial services, $500 million
  • Uxin Internet (Beijing) Information Technology Co., China, internet, $500 million
  • Ofo Bicycle, China, telecoms, $450 million
  • Airbnb, U.S, internet, $448 million

— Check out House Votes to Boost Number of Investors Allowed in Venture Capital Funds on ThinkAdvisor.


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