• John Pletz On Technology
  • John Pletz On Technology

    Chicago venture funding rose in 2019, but still lags

    Total investment rose 13 percent last year, but the five-year trend is weakest among the 10 biggest metros.

    Chicago venture capital investment
    Getty Images


    Venture investments in Chicago companies rose 13 percent in 2019 to $2.2 billion, according to data from PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association.

    Deals were up 1 percent to 279 transactions.

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    Nationally, investment cooled 3 percent from 2018, which more than double the previous high-water mark in recent years.

    Chicago’s venture funding has been about $2 billion for the past three years, up from about $1.5 billion between 2014 and 2016. Its growth rate of 13 percent was in the middle of the 10 largest metro areas last year, but it ranks last in growth over the past five years at 33 percent.

    By comparison, Austin, Texas, which is about one-fourth the size of Chicago, has about the same amount of venture funding. Austin had the second-slowest growth in funding over the past five years at 50 percent.

    New York had an unusual 80 percent increase in funding last year to $27.5 billion. Los Angeles slipped 27 percent to $8.3 billion.

    79彩票注册网址The Bay Area remains the nation’s venture-capital hotbed, with $50.7 billion last year, down from a recent peak of $67.4 billion, PitchBook and NVCA said.

    VCs seem to be more focused on harvesting deals than planting new ones.

    Exit activity, including acquisitions and IPOs, for venture-backed companies hit a record of $256.4 billion across 882 deals. Although activity slowed in the fourth quarter, PitchBook and NVCA called it an "unprecedented flow of capital back to general partners."

    One other encouraging data point: Female-founded companies saw a record amount of capital raised and a record number of deals.

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