Performance is everything -- especially when it comes to financial support. Total annual global venture capital funding rose 21% to $207 billion in 2018 compared with 2017, with deal activity
up 10% to 14,247 transactions, according to recent data.
In fact, data from PricewaterHouseCoopers and CB Insights shows that more than $100 million in deals drove 2018 global funding to the highest levels since 2000, with U.S. startups raising $99.5 billion across 5,536 deals.
The largest U.S deal in the fourth quarter goes to healthcare -- Zymergen, at $400 million. Investors were Data Collective, SoftBank Group, True Ventures, and Two Sigma Ventures. Two internet companies -- ZipRecruiter and DataRobot -- made the top five.
Overall, in the fourth quarter, VC-backed companies raised $25 billion, including internet and software companies. Deals were down 9% from the year-ago quarter. The record for funding came in the third quarter, with $28 billion in deals and 49 rounds of $100 million or more.
Expansion-stage funding peaked in the third quarter at 27% and then slid to 26%, compared with the year-ago period.
There were 540 internet deals in the fourth quarter of 2018, coming in at a whopping $9.1 billion. Mobile and telecom companies were responsible for 150 deals at $35 billion in investments. Consumer products and services didn’t fare poorly either, with 51 deals at a combined $382 million invested.
Interestingly, AI funding jumped. Companies in this space raised $9.3 billion in 2018, up 72% compared with 2017. Activity around deals fell to 466 from 533 in 2017 after increasing for four years.
Throughout the year, seed-stage deal activity among AI-related companies rose to 28%, compared with 24% in the third quarter.
Of course, California topped the state with the most AI deals at 53 for a total of $1.9 billion invested. Massachusetts followed with 13 deals at $247 million invested. New York totaled 10 deals at $110 million invested. Texas came next with three deals, at $10 million invested. Washington rounded out the top five, with three deals and $9 million invested.