We’ve been hearing the same narrative out of the venture capital industry for at least six months now: late-stage companies are staying private and stockpiling massive sums. As their valuations climb higher, we keep getting vague answers about when they will go public, if ever.
This has been the narrative for the first half of 2016, and one that doesn’t show signs of changing anytime soon, especially when you consider this: the second quarter of 2016 saw such a massive amount of VC activity that it safely eclipses any quarter, ever, since 2010.
The amount? A totally insane $22.3 billion.
That number is according to research firm PitchBook, which tracked VC data over each quarter of the last six years. While the increase in investment has remained fairly steady over time (except for a big jump between the first and second quarters of 2014, when it rose from about $13 billion to nearly $20 billion), the second quarter of this year shows that we’ve now reached a staggering new high.
In fact, 39% of venture capital went to the unicorns in the second quarter — the largest proportion ever.
This increase in investment runs parallel to a few other interesting trends: Not only has the number of deals closed seen a sharp and steady decline since halfway through 2015, but specifically, the number of angel and seed deal flow hit their lowest point in nearly five years.
Why? Because unicorns are (still) hot. VC money is increasingly being pushed toward more mature companies with some momentum, making funding for seed stage companies hyper-competitive.
And as mature startups continue to amass tons of capital and keep their lips sealed about their future plans, there’s no saying for sure when things will change.
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