Nationwide and regional VC numbers present Seattle faring higher than the remainder of the nation … up to now

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National VC investing trends, from a preliminary PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor report Thursday.

Venture capital investments in the U.S. declined more than 23% to $62 billion in the second quarter, from $82 billion in the first quarter, according to a preview of the PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor report, released Thursday morning.

The numbers show the impact of the economic slowdown on startups across the country. As reported by the New York Times, it’s the largest decline nationally since 2019, bringing an end to a three-year boom in startup investing.

PitchBook and NVCA won’t release their full report until next week, but numbers tracked by GeekWire indicate that the startup economy in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest is doing at least marginally better than the national averages in some respects — and totally bucking the trend when it comes to one number in particular.

GeekWire tracks tech funding deals in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia as part of its reporting on startups in the the Pacific Northwest.

Our tally shows that the value of investments in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest rose 18% between the first and the second quarter of this year, to about $2.2 billion. That compares to the 23% sequential decline between the first and second quarters across the country, which formed the basis for the New York Times report.

As we reported last week, the second quarter sequential increase in the Pacific Northwest came from a handful of big deals, including five above $100 million.

  1. Group14 Technologies, battery technology, $400 million.
  2. Convoy, trucking marketplace, $260 million.
  3. Zap Energy, fusion power, $160 million.
  4. Agility Robotics, warehouse robots, $150 million.
  5. Echodyne, high-tech radar, $135 million.
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Those top 5 deals in the second quarter in the Pacific Northwest had a total value of more than $1.1 billion, significantly outpacing the total value of $706 million for the top 5 deals in the first quarter. That helped to overcome a decline in the total number of deals: 63 in the second quarter vs. 75 in the first.

In contrast, across the country, PitchBook reported, “The outsized deals that became a theme of 2021 are not being completed as investors take a more cautious approach to the largest deals in the market.”

Comparing the first and second quarters is interesting in that it gives a sense for the real-time trend, but to the extent that investing is seasonal, of course, it’s better to compare numbers to the same period the prior year:

  • The national numbers are down about 17%, from $75 billion in Q2 2021 to $62 billion in Q2 2022, according to current and past PitchBook-NVCA reports.
  • Numbers in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest are also down over that timeframe, but not quite as much, falling 14% from $2.5 billion in Q2 2021 to $2.15 billion in Q2 2022.

OK, so a 3 point difference is definitely marginal. It’s no comfort to startup leaders looking at their burn rates, cash runways, and headcounts, and wondering when they’ll be able to raise their next round.

Big picture, the venture capital market is down by many other measures in Seattle and across the country. Maybe the sequential quarterly increase in total dollars invested in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest is a short-lived silver lining, or maybe it’s a glimmer of hope. Either way, good luck out there.

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Perl Beam

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