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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Just weeks into the pandemic, we reported that venture capitalists were still doing deals, even though their offices were closed and their flights were canceled. But we didn't quite foresee the WFH gusto.

Driving the news: U.S.-based venture capital hit an all-time record in 2020.

By the numbers: U.S. startups raised $130 billion last year, topping the prior high of $120 billion set back in the dot-com craze of 2000, per the MoneyTree report.

  • PitchBook has a slightly higher 2020 total ($156 billion), but we're highlighting MoneyTree because it existed back in 2000 (albeit with some different partners and methodologies). PitchBook wasn't founded until 2007.
  • MoneyTree reports that the number of 2020 deals was not only well below 2000, but at the lowest total since 2013. In other words, the boom was driven by a record number of mega-rounds, which represented 49% of the 2020 dollar total.

(Not) leaving San Francisco: Bay Area companies continued to dominate, in terms of both dollars and deals, despite the "leaving San Francisco" narrative. In fact, Bay Area startups raised just 1.3% less than startups in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Austin and Seattle combined, per PitchBook.

The bottom line: 2020 obviously wasn't the same as 2000, in terms of everything from business models to smartphones to lockdowns. But both VC surges were propelled by kinetic public markets and the concurrent valuation inflation and rush to fund. So this time it is different, but it's also the same.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated Jan 27, 2021 - Technology

Apple's quarterly sales top $100 billion for first time

Credit: Apple

Spurred by strong sales of the latest iPhones, Apple reported it took in a record $111 billion in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, as the company crushed expectations.

Why it matters: The move showed even a pandemic didn't dull demand for Apple's latest smartphones.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.

Senate Republicans block voting rights bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate floor on Jan. 18. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Republicans blocked Democrats' voting rights legislation from coming to a final vote on Wednesday in what was largely viewed as a doomed effort from the start.

Why it matters: The failed vote underscores the Democratic Party's current uphill battle to pass sweeping legislation in a 50-50 Senate.