May 13, 2020 - Economy & Business

Venture capital's new normal

An illustration of someone putting money in a jar.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Two months ago today, we wrote in this space that U.S. venture capitalists claimed to still be open for business, even if they were now working from home.

Fast forward: Investment activity remains vibrant, but off approximately 25% from pre-pandemic levels, according to data provided to Axios by PitchBook.

March data was unreliable, given that many contemporaneous announcements were for deals that had been signed at a time when frequent flier miles still mattered.

  • The typical February 2020 week saw 211 U.S. venture deals raising $2.6 billion, putting the average deal size at $12.3 million.
  • The typical April 2020 week saw 157 U.S. venture deals raising $1.97 billion, putting average deal size at $12.5 million.
  • The first week of May had 150 deals that raised $2.01 billion.
  • Both the February and April numbers this year were much lower than their 2019 counterparts. On the one hand, that could suggest that part of the April 2020 slowdown is just part of an ex-pandemic slide. On the other, it's worth noting that last year's April numbers were much larger than last year's February numbers, which makes the April 2020 decrease even more dramatic.

The key 2020 takeaway is consistency in April and May. The weekly disparity for four of the five weeks is just 30 companies and $210 million. Or, put another way, U.S. venture capital appears to have found its new normal.

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