Venture dollars have shifted to early rounds from late-stage deals over the past several years. It is a shift that proved fastest in quick changing industry segments, such as the consumer Internet, and slowest in segments like semiconductor, which are less dynamic.
Until now, I have not seen a study with an industry-by-industry breakdown of the trend. The work came from Preqin and offers some useful detail. For instance, just 13% of “consumer discretionary” deals over the last four years were late stage transactions and just 15% of Internet fundings, the study found.
Meanwhile, 45% of semiconductor and electronics deals in the four years from 2009 to 2012 were late stage. And a third of transactions in cleantech and health care were, according to the study.
Since the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, venture capitalists have shifted substantial dollars to the early stage. In 2007, 40% of invested capital went to late stage deals. Nineteen percent found its way to the early stage, according data from the MoneyTree Report. By 2011, early stage spending was 30% of the total and late stage had fallen to just under 34%. The breakdown for the first half of 2012 is almost identical to last year.
According to Preqin, another segment with strong early stage interest is business services, where just 17% of deals were late stage. Preqin draws the dividing line between early and late at the Series C funding, lumping expansion financing into its later stage tally.
Among the latest of the late fundings during the period were the G and H rounds. Several took place. In 2010, Onconova Therapeutics raised a $15 million Series H and the same year saw Zipcar put another $21 million in its war chest with a Series G financing from Meritech Capital Partners and Pinnacle Ventures.
SolarCity this year roped in $81 million in a Series G round with investors including Silver Lake and Valor Equity Partners.
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