Growth and Innovation Expands Beyond Silicon Valley, Digital Banking Continues to Gain Traction, More M&A in Fintech
Venture Capital (VC) investment in the U.S. continued performing at a high level during Q1’ 19 at $32.6 billion as the U.S. economy remained strong, and increased IPO activity set the stage for further investment at all points of the deal spectrum-- from early stage to late stage, according to KPMG’s Venture Pulse Q1’ 2019 report.
The largest deals in Q1’19 included a $5 billion raise by shared-space provider The We Company (formerly WeWork), and a $1 billion raise by freight logistics company Flexport – earning that company coveted unicorn status.
“In the past five years, the number of U.S. unicorns has more than doubled to over 160 as private capital is readily available allowing companies to stay private longer,” said Brian Hughes, National Co-leader, KPMG Venture Capital practice in the U.S. “We finally saw some unicorns choosing to go public in late 2018, and this unicorn IPO trend is expected to continue well into this year, spurred by recent high profile offerings and the ongoing strength of the public markets.”
Lyft hosted a successful IPO on Nasdaq in late March, raising $2.3 billion to value the company at $24 billion. It is the first in a line of large IPO unicorns expected in 2019, with ride-hailing company Uber also expected to file publicly, amongst others. The good performance of these unicorn companies in the early part of 2019 will trigger more investor interest in mature unicorns later in the year, in addition to providing additional capital for early stage deals.
U.S. investors continued to invest in established verticals in Q1’19, including food-delivery, healthcare and transportation, while mega-funds gained a significant amount of attention, coupled with strong activity in smaller-size funds.
Growth and Innovation Occurring Beyond Silicon Valley
The report found a growing boom of VC investment outside of Silicon Valley and the West Coast. In 2018, while 39 percent of VC deals occurred on the West Coast, 20 percent occurred in the Mid-Atlantic region, 9 percent in New England, and 9 percent in the Great Lakes region. These numbers reflect the growing number of innovation hubs appearing in cities such as New York, Boston and others –a trend continuing this year.
In Q1’19, New York and New Jersey both attracted big deals, such as The We Company’s $5 billion raise, and Knock’s $400 million raise.
Among companies headquartered in Silicon Valley, there has been a shift toward scaling outside of the Valley in order to access or attract talent and better manage labor and space costs. Late in 2018, for example, Slack announced a new Denver Office, while other companies set up offices in Arizona, Salt Lake City and beyond. This trend is only expected to continue as companies look to balance a presence in the Valley with the need to scale and grow efficiently.
Digital Banking Heats Up
The digital banking space in the US continued to gain traction in Q1’19. Chime’s Q1’19 $200 million raise earned it unicorn status, with a number of non-U.S.-based banks voicing plans to raise capital to fund a U.S. expansion.
The U.S. is well positioned for growth
The maturing fintech sector is also expected to see more M&A activity as companies are looking for scale and consolidate market share. In Q1’19, FIS announced plans to acquire Worldplay in a $34 billion deal.
“The story in the U.S. continues to be very positive. The 2018 IPOs generally performed very well and the pre-public companies that have completed financings recently have been at high valuations,” said Conor Moore, National Co-Lead Partner, KPMG Venture Capital practice in the U.S. “This should encourage greater investment at all points on the investment spectrum from seed to late stage.”
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