In Q3 2013, venture capital investors poured $1.12 billion across 150 deals into U.S. mobile & telecom companies, marking the largest financing quarter to the mobile sector ever. And as companies both large and small continue to emphasize the platform shift to mobile, Q4 saw no letdown in mobile VC momentum as both quarterly deal and funding levels remained at or near historical highs.
The influx of mobile VC financing has gone not to any one particular category but a spattering of emerging industries from payments to app development to security. Benedict Evans, who recently joined venture firm Andreessen Horowitz as a partner, highlighted the broad array of opportunities in mobile, writing:
“The whole mobile space is in flux – Apple and Android have won the platform wars, more or less, but all the dynamics on top of that are changing all the time.”
Given the importance of the ongoing shift, we wanted to share some investment trends observed in the burgeoning mobile sector, including the top states, industries and stages for mobile venture capital financing in 2013. For more VC financing and exit data across all sectors, see the full 2013 Venture Capital Activity and Exits Report.
As the graph below illustrates, Q4 2013 saw the 2nd straight quarter in which mobile investment topped the billion dollar mark.
Mobile Financing Trend By Industry
Venture capital investors chased deals in a wide range of mobile sub-industries in 2013, led by mobile-based CRM tools. Among the mobile CRM startups that took VC funding in 2013 were Draper Fisher Jurvetson-backed Selligy. Rounding out the top three mobile industries by deal flow were Advertising, Sales & Marketing and Location-based Services, which benefited from Waze’s big exit.
The massive “other” bucket also highlights the heterogeneity of the mobile industry and covers a wide range of sub-industries: sports, music, discount, conferencing, food & grocery, testing, search, legal and email.
With the explosion of mobile devices and growing security threats, mobile security startups took the largest share of mobile VC funding in 2013, followed by travel. Mobile funding has shifted from the capital intensive telecom equipment and services to a range of relatively leaner mobile software and app companies as shown below.
Mobile Financing Trend By Stage
Early-stage investments at the Seed and Series A stages made up over 70% of all VC deals in the mobile sector in 2013. On a year-over-year basis, Series A deal share saw the largest climb across the maturity spectrum rising from 30% in 2012 to 34% of all mobile deals in 2013.
On the funding front, VCs pursued some hefty deals at the mid-stage in 2013 as Series C funding share in the mobile sector jumped from 14% in 2012 to 21% in 2013. Among the largest Series C deals in the mobile space were Uber’s mega $258M round and Flipboard’s $100M round from investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Insight Venture Partners. Series A funding share also saw a notable increase, rising to 29% in 2013.
Mobile Financing Trend By Geography
Despite the disparate industry picture in 2013, the sector saw little geographical diversity when it came to VC investments. California sat atop the mobile venture capital ecosystem by investment deals and dollars, taking 51% of all mobile deals in 2013. In fact, peeling back mobile VC funding at the city level reveals that San Francisco and Palo Alto combined to take a whopping $1.25B across 142 deals last year.
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