FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2022
Contact: Sabrina Fang
WASHINGTON, DC – More than 14,400 U.S. venture-backed companies across 251 metro areas and 414 Congressional Districts raised funding in 2021, a new annual record for the number of companies raising venture capital (VC). The pace of investment averaged out to about 40 companies across the country raising VC funding each day, according to the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) 2022 Yearbook, with data provided by PitchBook.
The 25th edition of the publication also highlights several industry milestones reached last year: VC funds closed topped $100 billion, VC investment into startups surpassed $330 billion, VC-backed IPOs raised more than $500 billion, and disclosed VC-backed mergers and acquisitions exceeded $100 billion. Following several years of strong fundraising and investment activity, assets under management (AUM) for the VC industry reached $995 billion at the end of 2021, including $223 billion in dry powder (i.e., new capital for VC investors to deploy into startups). These assets were managed by 2,889 firms and 5,338 funds.
Global VC investment activity mirrored the U.S. and also reached new highs in 2021. The U.S. accounted for 49% of $683 billion invested globally and 40% of just over 40,000 VC deals. The U.S. share has steadily declined since 2004 (when the U.S. accounted for 82% of dollars and 74% of deal count) but has leveled off since 2019.
“On the surface, 2021 posted extraordinary numbers,” said Bobby Franklin, president and CEO of NVCA. “The remarkable year was paved by several years of a healthy startup and funding environment. The industry started 2022 on a high note, but in some cases, the topline, record-breaking figures don’t tell the full story given the dynamic, evolving, and growing ecosystem.”
Franklin said that continuing to encourage new company formation and making capital more accessible to underrepresented communities were important priorities to ensure the continued health of the ecosystem, which has played a pivotal role in the U.S. economy. He added that VC is “addressing the country’s long-term needs in sectors like climate-tech, life sciences and cybersecurity.”
Highlights of the U.S. Venture Industry in 2021
- 4,156 companies raised first-time funding (the first round of equity funding in a startup by an institutional venture investor) and attracted $23.6 billion, with both metrics hitting annual records. However, the share of deal count and deal value these fundings represent of overall VC continues to decline. First-time deals accounted for 26% of total deal count and just 7% of total deal value, both record lows.
- The energy sector saw the largest year-over-year (YoY) growth in VC investment. 259 energy deals raised $8.8 billion in 2021, representing 42% and 256% YoY increases, respectively.
- 296 VC-backed public listings generated $681.5 billion in exit value in 2021, including 181 VC-backed IPOs that represented $512 billion. These 181 IPOs collectively had a post-money valuation of $614 billion, stemming from just $60.8 billion in VC funding invested prior to IPO. VC-backed IPOs accounted for nearly 20% of total U.S. IPO count last year.
Venture Across the Country
- VC funds based in 37 states and the District of Columbia held final closes in 2021. Arkansas, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Texas saw the biggest year-over-year gains in capital closed.
- The overall U.S. median fund size reached $50 million. For California, Massachusetts, and New York, collectively, the median fund size was $60 million. Excluding those three states, the median VC fund size was $29 million.
- Venture investment reached startups in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, 251 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), and 414 congressional districts. 19 states have seen double-digit annual growth rates in their number of VC investments over the past five years. 47 states have seen double-digit growth rates for VC dollars invested over the past five years.
NVCA in Action in 2021
- Policy: NVCA spent considerable time and resources working on antitrust and acquisition regulations, financial regulatory proposals, the Endless Frontier Act and the U.S. Innovation Competition Act, Startup Visa legislation, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan (BIP), and the ongoing negotiations related to the Build Back Better Act (BBB).
- Programs: NVCA and its 501(c)(3) supporting organization, Venture Forward, delivered strong virtual programming to support the VC ecosystem, including the 2021 VC Awards Ceremony, the Strategic Operations & Policy Summit, VC University ONLINE, VC University LIVE, LP Office Hours, the Strategic Communications Group Summit, and a new “Spotlight On” series highlighting emerging VC ecosystems across the country.
- Research: NVCA released new research including a report on Immigrant Entrepreneurs, the third edition of the VC Human Capital Survey (with Venture Forward and Deloitte), and a report quantifying the impact of VC-backed companies in fueling American jobs (with Venture Forward and the University of North Carolina Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise).
About National Venture Capital Association
The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) empowers the next generation of American companies that will fuel the economy of tomorrow. As the voice of the US venture capital and startup community, NVCA advocates for public policy that supports the American entrepreneurial ecosystem. Serving the venture community as the preeminent trade association, NVCA arms the venture community for success, serving as the leading resource for venture capital data, practical education, peer-led initiatives, and networking. For more information about NVCA, please visit www.nvca.org.