Venture Capital Investment Holds Steady at US$7.4 billion in 2Q2008

Venture capitalists invested US$7.4 billion in 990 deals in the second quarter of 2008, according to the MoneyTree™ Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) based on data provided by Thomson Reuters. Quarterly investment activity was essentially flat compared to the first quarter of 2008 when US$7.5 billion was invested in 977 deals. Growth in the clean technology and Internet-specific sectors contributed to the solid level of investing seen in the quarter.

"The relatively stable level of venture investment this quarter, across a broad swath of industries and all stages of development, shows evidences that there are no shortages of opportunities for innovative companies," said Mark Heesen, president of the NVCA. "While the exit market remains challenged, the venture industry is operating under the same long-term philosophy it has adhered to historically. Venture firms are prepared to invest for five to ten years and will stick with their companies through difficult times. That said, for the remainder of the year we will be watching first-time funding levels, which declined this quarter. This dynamic could very well be the result of the closed IPO window and will become concerning if the situation is prolonged."

"Despite the turmoil in the markets, the pace of investing in the first half of 2008 indicates that venture investing is on target to reach the US$30 billion level this year, putting it on par with 2007 when US$30.7 billion was invested," said Tracy Lefteroff, global managing partner of the venture capital practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers. "VCs are continuing to find and fund new deals, and the increase in later stage investments demonstrates that VCs are committed to funding their portfolio companies until the public markets open up or opportunities for M&A present themselves, allowing them to achieve liquidity."

Industry Analysis

The software industry gained top billing as the number one industry sector in terms of deals and dollars in the second quarter with US$1.25 billion going into 219 deals. The number of deals is nearly double the next highest sector, which was biotech with 111 deals for the quarter. Industrial/energy companies captured the second highest level of funding in the second quarter with US$1.2 billion being invested in the industry, pushing biotechnology out of the top two for the first time since the second quarter of 2003.

The life sciences sector (biotechnology and medical devices combined) saw a 14% drop in VC investing in the second quarter with US$1.9 billion going into 209 deals – 9% drop in deals from the first quarter of 2008. This decrease is attributed to declining investment levels in both biotechnology and medical devices. Investments in life sciences companies represented 26% of all investment dollars and 21% of all deals in the second quarter.

The clean technology sector, which crosses traditional MoneyTree™ industries and comprises alternative energy, pollution and recycling, power supplies and conservation, reached an all-time quarterly high in investment dollars with US$883.6 million going into 65 deals. This dollar figure represents a slight increase from the first quarter when US$870.9 million went into 60 deals. Additionally, the top two deals of the second quarter were clean technology companies, which captured US$132 million and US$115 million respectively. Historical clean technology figures included in this release may differ from previously reported figures due to Thomson Reuters’ new clean technology company criteria, which now includes greater precision and scope in identifying venture-backed clean technology companies.

Internet-specific companies garnered US$1.5 billion going into 238 deals in the second quarter, a 14% increase in dollars over the first quarter of 2008 when US$1.3 billion went into 208 deals. This quarter marks the fourth consecutive quarter of more than 200 Internet-specific deals being funded in a quarter and represents the highest quarterly level of Internet investing since 2001. ‘Internet-specific’ is a discrete classification assigned to a company with a business model that is fundamentally dependent on the Internet, regardless of the company’s primary industry category.

Industrial/energy had a positive quarter with US$1.2 billion going into 89 deals, an increase in both deals and dollars from the first quarter when US$915 million went into 68 deals. The media and entertainment industry also saw an increase in dollars invested, rising 25% over the prior quarter to US$586 million going into 110 deals. The semiconductor industry, with US$328 million invested into 39 deals, sunk to its lowest investment level since 4Q2001.

First-time Financings

The dollar value of first-time deals (companies receiving venture capital for the first time) declined 12% with US$1.6 billion going into 301 companies. First-time financings accounted for 21% of all dollars and 30% of all deals in the second quarter, compared to 24% of all dollars and 32% of all deals in the first quarter. The percentage of dollars going into first-time financings is the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2004 when 21.1% of total investments went to companies receiving venture capital for the first time. The decline represents a 5% drop in deals from the first quarter of 2008 when US$1.8 billion went into 316 first-time deals.

Companies in the industrial/energy, biotechnology and software industries received the highest level of first-time dollars in 2Q. Other industries seeing an increase in first-time financings in 2Q include computers & peripherals, healthcare services and telecommunications when compared to 1Q.

The average size of the first-time deal in the second quarter was US$5.3 million compared to US$5.7 million one quarter ago. Seed/early-stage companies received the bulk of first-time investments, garnering 55% of the dollars and 69% of the deals.

Stage of Development

Seed/early stage investing fell slightly in the second quarter to US$1.6 billion into 351 deals but remained relatively even with the first quarter of 2008 when venture capitalists invested US$1.7 billion into 356 deals. Seed/early stage deals accounted for 35% of total deal volume in the second quarter, on par with the prior quarter. The average seed deal in the second quarter was US$3.8 million, up from US$3.4 million in the first quarter; the average early stage deal was US$5 million in 2Q, down from US$5.4 million in the prior quarter.

Expansion stage dollars dropped 15% in the second quarter, with US$2.6 billion going into 321 deals. The number of deals remained relatively flat compared to the 331 deals funded in the first quarter. Overall, expansion stage deals accounted for 32% of venture deals in the quarter. The average expansion stage deal was US$8.2 million, down notably from US$9.3 million in the first quarter of 2008.

Investments in later stage deals rose 14% with US$3.1 billion going into 318 deals and accounting for 32% of total deal volume. In the first quarter of 2008, US$2.7 billion went into 290 deals. The average later stage deal in the second quarter was US$9.8 million, slightly higher than the prior quarter when the average later stage deal size was US$9.4 million.

International Investing

In the second quarter of 2008, US-based venture capitalists invested US$583 million into 47 deals in China, nearly doubling investment from the first quarter when US$296 million went into 34 deals. Investments into India by US venture capitalists also jumped, rising 27% to US$473 million going into 40 deals, compared to the US$373.3 million going into 40 deals in the first quarter. These figures are reported separately and are not included in the aggregate totals above.

MoneyTree™ Report results are available online at and

The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) represents approximately 480 venture capital and private equity firms. NVCA's mission is to foster greater understanding of the importance of venture capital to the US economy, and support entrepreneurial activity and innovation. The NVCA represents the public policy interests of the venture capital community, strives to maintain high professional standards, provides reliable industry data, sponsors professional development, and facilitates interaction among its members. For more information about the NVCA, please visit

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