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Is seed-stage really the new gray?

Is seed investing the new black? That’s Om Malik’s interpretation of new venture capital investment data from CB Insights, showing that 26% of all early-stage Internet deals last quarter were “seed” instead of “Series A.”

I certainly stipulate that Internet companies have become progressively cheaper to build, and that seed-stage investing is on the rise. That said, I have to wonder if the CB Insights figures are, in part, being driven by reporting bias.

Here’s what I mean: Two years ago, seed-stage companies rarely announced funding rounds. The deals were considered financially insignificant, many of the companies considered “stealth-mode” sacrosanct, the investors were “unbranded” and press release distribution costs were viewed as wasteful.

Today, however, the situation is much different. First, many of the investors have become validating rock stars. Second, stealth-mode seems to have lost much of its cache (perhaps because online availability of Form D filings makes it tougher to maintain). Third, companies can self-publish their news via blog post.

Again, I acknowledge that there are more seed-stage deals today than a few years back. I just don’t think the increase is as great as the numbers would suggest.