For the Record: Seed and Early-Stage VC Data


There has been lots of back-and-forth this week about how venture capitalists are “paralyzed,” or at least how seed-stage companies are starving for dollars (more than usual, that is). Some of this has played out in the NYT and WSJ editorial pages, some has played out in the VC blogosphere and some has played out in my inbox.

So I figured it was worth uploading some MoneyTree data runs, in order that we may all argue with a common set of numbers. Each run includes the years 1995-2008, and only relates to investments in U.S.-based companies. For context, Yahoo was first funded in 1995, eBay and SalesForce.com in 1997, Google in 1999, EqualLogic in 2001 and Facebook in 2005. The spreadsheets can be found below, but here are three quick (and surprising) takeaways:

  • The number of seed-stage companies funded in 2008 was higher than in any year between 2001 and 2006.
  • The number of early-stage companies (non-seed) funded in 2008 was higher than in any year between 2002 and 2006.
  • Overall VC investment did drop in Q4 2008, but the number of seed and early-stage deals (combined) done in Q4 was greater than in any quarter between 2002 and 2006.

Here are the spreadsheets:

Total VC deal activity (by year)

Seed-stage VC deal activity (by year)

Early-stage deal activity (by year)

Seed and early-stage deal activity (by quarter)