Venture capital investment in U.S. startups rose 24% in the second quarter to $19.19 billion, nearly matching levels last seen in the dot-com era, according to Dow Jones VentureSource.
Total investment in the first half of 2015 was $35.9 billion, more than the $35.7 billion deployed into U.S. venture-backed companies in all of 2013.
The number of deals in the second quarter (1,034) actually declined a little compared with the same period of 2014, Dow Jones said in its latest VC report, but that reflected the super-sized investments going to substantial “unicorn” companies such as Uber Technologies and Airbnb.
Airbnb raised $1.5 billion for the quarter — the largest recorded deal of the quarter and far more than what comparable firms have raised in the public markets.
While venture-capital fundraising in the first half was up 15%, to $21.52 billion, it was still way off the pace of 2000, when venture firms rounded up about $85 billion. “That was my fear going into this cycle, you would find that wall of money,” Kate Mitchell, a partner at Scale Venture Partners, told The Wall Street Journal. “So far we don’t.”
Valuations retreated a bit in the second quarter, compared with the previous quarter. But the $65 million median pre-money valuation for the second quarter was still higher than the $50 million pre-money valuation for the same period last year.
New Enterprise Associates 15 LP was the largest U.S. venture capital fund of 2Q 2015, raising almost $3.2 billion during the quarter.
Scott Sandell, a managing general partner at the firm, told the WSJ that while the long-term fundamentals of the venture market are very attractive, the valuations of midstage companies and the amount of capital available to them continue to rise “in ways that make us really nervous.”
He said the firm sees lots of companies where “we like all the things we see, but the valuation is just too high.” The median pre-money valuation of later-stage rounds in the first half of this year was $310 million compared with $213.3 million for all of last year.