Venture capital activity in the United States reached its highest level since the turn of the millennium in 2017. According to the PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor
, VC firms invested a total of $84.2 billion last year, up 16 percent from 2016 and more than 100 percent from ten years ago. Meanwhile, the number of completed deals dropped to the lowest level since 2012, a trend that was offset by a steep increase in the average deal size.
Despite the fact that venture capital funding is edging towards levels previously seen in the dot.com era of the late 1990s, PitchBook CEO John Gabbert sees no signs of another tech bubble. “While the figures are comparable to the dot-com era, the VC ecosystem appears healthy and driven by different dynamics”, he said in a statement, arguing that the high investment volume is mainly driven by large funding rounds by later-stage companies with proven track records.
Supporting this argument, 2017 saw another increase in venture capital
deals involving unicorns, i.e. companies valued at $1 billion or more. A total of 73 deals involving unicorns accounted for $19.2b or nearly 23 percent of total VC investment in 2017. The largest deal of the year was closed in August, when the SoftBank Group invested $3 billion in the New York City based workspace startup WeWork.