Venture funding tallied a record $182 billion last year, surpassing the peak of $148 billion set in 2015, a study by research group Preqin found.
Still, the number of VC-backed financings marked the second-consecutive annual decline. The number of deals totaled 11,144 in 2017, down from 11,699 in 2016. Meanwhile, the average size of most funding rounds has increased, said Felice Egidio, who heads venture capital products at Preqin.
One reason, he said in a statement, may be “the increasing competition for attractive opportunities,” as companies seek to raise large VC sums in late stages of their development, rather than turn to going public by selling stock or putting the business on the block.
Last year’s largest deal was the $5.5 billion funding of ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing, by investors including the Bank of Communications and China Merchants Bank. This was the second-largest VC deal of the past decade and the biggest Asia VC financing ever.
North America had the largest portion of deal activity, with 4,302 investments for a $77 billion total. At the same time, Asia showed a sizable range of VC activity, with $65 billion invested in Greater China and $10 billion announced for India.
In 2017, the largest number of deals was for the beginning stage, known as the angel or seed round, with 32%, with the later Series A financings at 28%. Among industry sectors, software deals accounted for 26% of announcements by number, although internet firms had the largest dollar amount at 24%.
Exits had an uptick in 2017, with 1,151 VC exits amounting to $71 billion.