Frontier tech startups — those focusing on augmented or virtual reality, space, and drones — raised a combined $3.5B in equity financings in 2015, over a record 254 deals.
Funding trends to these emerging tech areas were mixed in Q1’16, with AR/VR funding spiking, but drones seeing a relatively weak showing in the quarter. Using CB Insights data, we looked at annual and quarterly trends for frontier tech as a whole.
Yearly financing trends
While not surpassing the tremendous year-over-year growth seen in 2014, 2015 was still a significant leap. At $3.4B invested over 254 deals, the year finished with 118% growth in funding and 97% growth in deal volume.
Quarterly financing trends
After 4 quarters of $600M+ funding tallies, frontier tech plummeted to just $368M in Q3’15. Since that drop-off, however, funding rallied back to $879M in Q4’15 and $1.3B in Q1’16, respectively.
With $1.3B in funding over 72 deals, Q1’16 turned out to be the second-largest ever in terms of both deals and dollars. Compared to Q4’15 that’s 44% growth in funding, but a 9% fall in deal volume.
Frontier tech startups are concentrated in the US market, which was by far the largest destination for frontier tech investment, seeing 70% of the deals since 2011. The next-largest was the UK, which only saw 5%.
Drilling into US-based frontier tech deals since 2011, 54% of deals have occurred in California. Washington state, which is home to big space companies Blue Origin and Kymeta, saw a sizable 7% of frontier tech deals. Florida, New York, and Massachusetts each saw 5% of the deal share.
Most active VC investors
Topping the list of active VCs in frontier tech by unique companies they’ve invested in was Rothenberg Ventures, a firm with a strong focus on the frontier tech categories. Rothenberg’s recent bets include Zeality, Vicarious Surgical, and EmergentVR.
Third place was a tie between Qualcomm Ventures and Intel Capital. Intel Capital counts drone developer PrecisionHawk among its recent bets, and Qualcomm Ventures notably participated in Magic Leap‘s $794M Series C mega-round in Q1’16.
See the full list below:
|8||First Round Capital|
|10||Bessemer Venture Partners|
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