US & Canada VCs favor late-stage giants over upstarts in Q4

Startup investors in the U.S. and Canada have been putting a little less money to work across a lot fewer deals in recent months.

After three quarters of rising investment at early through growth stage, VCs have cut back in the fourth quarter of 2017. They participated in fewer deals and invested less capital compared to both the prior quarter and year-ago periods, according to Crunchbase projected data. (For a quick explanation as to why this report now includes Canada, see the end of the post.)

Overall, investors put a projected $21.9 billion into seed through technology growth-stage rounds in Q4, down from a projected $28.1 billion in Q3. Deal count fell most markedly at the earliest stages, with the projected number of closed rounds for seed-stage startups down by more than one-third from the prior quarter.

The Q4 pullback contrasts with upbeat comparables for the full year. For all of 2017, U.S. and Canadian startup investors put a projected $89.4 billion to work, up from $82 billion in all of 2016. A smattering of really big, mostly late-stage rounds, boosted by SoftBank’s unprecedented spending spree, contributed to the higher annual totals.

Below, we look at some of the key data points for the just-ended quarter and year, including early and late-stage funding, round counts, M&A and IPOs.

Adding it all up

First, we’ll look at investment totals for the quarter and full year. Broadly, Q4 showed some pullback from Q3, but projected investment totals were still up year-over-year across most stages for 2017.

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