Money continued to pour into venture-backed companies in the third quarter, while concerns over valuations and exits grew.

U.S. venture investments rose to $19.05 billion in the third quarter and to $54.6 billion for the first nine months of the year, according to industry tracker Dow Jones VentureSource.

Yearend figures should surpass 2014’s $55.5 billion total, though numbers are still likely to be below the record $94.17 billion invested in 2000 at the height of the dot-com boom.

“The increased investment amount comes amid a dearth of initial public offerings as well as mergers and acquisitions for venture-backed companies,” The Wall Street Journal;s blog The Daily Startup wrote. “It also comes in a year that has seen an uptick in the number of private companies that are valued at $1 billion or more.”

Startups also faced “sobering economic realities” about valuations in the third quarter, China’s slowdown wreaked havoc on markets.

“There’s going to be a new awakening or new dawn, where these companies realize that they priced themselves out of the M&A market and they are not preparing themselves to be good public companies and that they don’t have any liquidity path,” Benchmark general partner Bill Gurley told The Daily Startup.

There have been 51 IPOs for venture-backed companies in the U.S. through the third quarter, raising $5.04 billion. The number for all of 2015 is expected to be lower than the 107 IPOs in 2014, which raised $9.35 billion. Through the third quarter, mergers and acquisitions logged $40.97 billion in deals, roughly half of full-year 2014’s $80.98 billion in transactions.

The sectors attracting the most venture equity in the third quarter were business and financial services ($5.3 billion raised in 234 deals); consumer services ($5 billion, 189 deals); and information technology ($4 billion, 266 deals).

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