Global venture capital investment rose to a record US$255 billion in 2018, according to the KPMG Enterprise Venture Pulse report.
The fourth quarter of 2018 was also the second-highest quarter on record for venture capital investment, with $64 billion in investments. A $12.8 billion Q4 funding round to U.S.-based e-cigarette manufacturer Juul was the second-largest deal of the year, following the $14 billion raised by China’s Ant Financial in the second quarter.
The $255 billion total for the year was up from $175 billion in 2017.
“The record levels of funding we are seeing around the world highlight the intense focus VC investors are placing on late-stage deals,” said Brian Hughes, national co-lead partner, KPMG Venture Capital Practice, in a statement.
“Mega-deals” worth more than $1 billion accounted for $22 billion in the fourth quarter, roughly one-third of the total funding, he said.
While record highs were set in 2018 in every region, the number of deals dropped to a six-year low. In 2018, there were 15,299 deals globally, compared to 17,314 in 2017 and 20,172 in 2015. The drop in deal volume in the fourth quarter was even more pronounced, representing the the lowest number of deals (3,048) since 2012.
“While the extended decline in the number of deals, particularly at the earliest deal stages, is somewhat concerning, the highest quality companies are still attracting investment and we expect to see a strong IPO market in 2019,” Hughes said.