First came news that more companies went public in 2014 than in any year since 2000. Today, a new report claims VCs invested more money in 2014 than in any year since 2000. Everyone is getting rich. The good old days are back again.
The study, produced by the National Venture Capital Association and PwC, looks at private investment across all sectors. But the companies that
scare the shit out of me we care about are "Internet-specific" companies. Guess what? Those companies also hit the highest level since 2000, raking in a total of $11.9 billion.
Is this good news or bad news? Let's take a look.
1. The total amount invested in 2014 was $48.3 billion, which is less than half what was invested in 2000, when VCs pumped $105 billion into startups. So: things are still nowhere near as crazy as they were in 2000.
1. Nevertheless, $48.3 billion is still a lot money, and in fact it represents a 61% gain from 2013, when the total invested was only $30 billion. So, things are heating up fast.
2. It's not just traditional VC firms that are investing. Now there are hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds, and even foreign companies throwing money at startups — "an influx of private equity investors at a level we've not seen previously," says a PwC partner. Translation: Dumb money.
3. Though dollar amounts are soaring, the number of deals stayed relatively flat. This means investors aren't funding more companies, they're just pumping a lot more money into the companies that do get funded.
Uber raised $1.2 billion in a single round. Vice, Magic Leap and Snapchat all raised rounds in the $500 million ballpark. NVCA counted 40 "megadeals," meaning deals in which more than $100 million was raised.
So let's recap. There was roughly $50 billion invested last year, and that's about half what was invested during the mania of 2000. But this time we're seeing huge deals, like nothing anyone has ever seen before. And a lot of the money is coming from newbies and outsiders.
Does this mean there is more risk today than in 2000, or less? I have no idea. I suppose this is something for economists to argue about at Davos.
But one thing worth looking at is the relative scale of things in 2015 versus 20 years ago.
Today those figures seem almost quaint.
According the that report from NVCA and PwC, the money is continuing to roll in like crazy. They see no end to the spending, and expect another big year in 2015.