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Global VC investment shatters record, says KPMG Private Enterprise Venture Pulse report

Global VC investment hits $126.6 billion in Q1’21 shattering the Q4’20 record of $98.2 billion.

Global VC investment hits $126.6 billion in Q1’21 shattering the Q4’20 record of $98.2b.

Unprecedented number of “Unicorn births” with 64 in the U.S.

Record exit value of $147.6 billion in Asia as global VC-backed exits achieve high of $283.8 billion

Q1'21 saw the global VC market move at an incredible pace, with record levels of investment in Europe, the US and the Americas fueling a significant surge in total global VC funding, according to the Q1'21 edition of Venture Pulse - a quarterly report published by KPMG Private Enterprise.

Quarterly VC investment flew past the $100 billion mark for the first time, reaching $126.9 billion globally across 6,508 deals during Q1'21, up from the previous record of $98.2 billion across 7,329 deals achieved in Q4'20. 

A record nine $1 billion+ mega-deals by companies located in the US, Asia, and Europe helped drive the surge, contributing over $16 billion to the quarterly global investment total - including a $3.4 billion raise by US-based Robinhood, a $3 billion raise by China-base Xingsheng Selected, and a $1.29 billion raise by Sweden-based Klarna.

After a banner quarter of $209.5 billion in exit value across 649 exits in Q4'20, VC-backed exit activity rose even further, with $283.8 billion across 667 exits in Q1'21.

“Between traditional IPOs, direct listings, secondary listings, and SPAC mergers, the global exit market has blown wide open” said Conor Moore, Co-Leader, KPMG Private Enterprise Emerging Giants Network, KPMG International. “Interest in SPACs has been incredible during the first quarter of 2021, with companies across the globe looking at SPACs as an opportunity to go public more quickly. Given the number of SPACs being created, this will likely remain a hot exit option throughout 2021 and into 2022.”

Key Highlights - Q1'21

  • Global VC investment rose from $98.2 billion across 7,329 deals in Q4'20 to $126.9 billion across 6,508 deals in Q1'21.
  • The Americas saw a record $74.4 billion in investment across 3,310 deals in Q1'21 - up from $47.6 billion across 3,399 deals in Q4'20. The US accounted for $69 billion of this total (3,042 deals) - up from $45.0 billion in Q4'20.
  • VC investment in Europe reached a new record of $21 billion across 1,430 deals in Q1'21, up from the previous high of $15.8 billion across 1,937 deals in Q4'20. 
  • Asia-Pacific region saw $31 billion in investment across 1,615 deals in Q1'21 - a robust amount compared to historical norms, despite a drop from $34.5 billion across 1,840 deals in Q4'20.
  • Unicorn financings rose dramatically in Q1'21, accounting for $49.7 billion raised across 182 unicorn funding rounds, compared to $101 billion raised across 403 rounds in 2020. 
  • VC-backed exit activity rose to a new record, climbing from an already significant high of $209.5 billion across 649 exits in Q4'20 to $283.8 billion across 667 exits in Q1'21.
  • Median deal sizes rose across all deal stages in Q1'21, with the median deal size for Series D+ deals rising from $60 million in 2020 to $100 million in Q1'21. 
  • The median global pre-valuation for deals rose for Series C and Series D+ rounds; for Series C, it rose from $192 million in 2020 to $278 million in Q1'21, while for Series D+, it rose from $489 million to $965 million.

*All figures are in USD

About KPMG Private Enterprise

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