Early stage startups doubled their funding in 2021

It’s a great time to get an idea off the ground, particularly if you need some cash to get things rolling.

Early stage funding in global startups notched $201 billion in 2021, according to Crunchbase data. That’s $100 billion more in funding than the year prior. Approximately $29.4 billion went to seed-stage startups, in particular.

If 2020 was a good year for venture capital, 2021 was something else entirely. Let’s look at the data from Crunchbase: 

Of course, funding is up at every stage, with a total of $643 billion delivered to startups in 2021—92% growth from 2020, per Crunchbase. Later-stage funding rounds still make up the predominant portion of funding, as one would expect. Here’s a look at all of the dollars invested in startups last year:

Founders can look to a whole lot of places for cash these days—hedge funds, private equity firms, and mutual funds are taking bets on venture capital firms at unprecedented rates, shifting the profile of what you’d call a traditional venture investor.

The major question now seems to be what happens when there’s a downturn. Sure, it’s very attractive to throw billions of dollars into startups when valuations are soaring and markets are plump. But, as history has repeatedly shown, numbers don’t always climb. Will venture capital’s newfound investor entrants stick around for the tougher times, too?

A dark day in U.S. history: Today marks the first anniversary of Trump rioters storming the U.S. Capitol and forcing elected officials into hiding. The incident left five people dead, hundreds injured, and a country wondering how it had happened. Shortly thereafter, companies and trade groups pledged to halt donations to politicians who had objected to the election results, or altogether. They didn’t keep their word, as my colleague Nicole Goodkind wrote last month. While donations to those who had objected to the election stalled in January and February of 2021, they rose to more than $6.8 million by the end of the year. 

Speaking of Trump rallies… The Trump SPAC needs retail investors to rally if it wants to avoid liquidation, and there’s not a whole lot of time left. Under SEC rules, shareholders of blank check companies must approve a merger between it and an announced target company (in this case, Trump Media & Technology Group) within a certain timeframe. Digital World Acquisition Corp. is struggling to land enough votes, according to Reuters, and it delayed its special meeting to buy more time. Patrick Orlando, the Benessere Investment Group CEO who is behind the SPAC, had to liquidate a separate blank check company last year after not being able to merge within the deadline. Looks like a strong possibility this could be No. 2 on that front.

How are you feeling? Term Sheet is partnering with Semaphore for its 14th annual confidence survey of private equity, venture capital, hedge fund and other professionals. Will 2022 afford an end to our public health burden? Has it influenced business interests and personal income? Fifty-six percent of respondents expressed confidence in then-new president Biden last year. Is the honeymoon over? Weigh in, if you like, and share your level of confidence in yourself, the economy, and your business; it’s anonymous and should take you 3-4 minutes. You can take the survey here. Have a look at last year’s results here.

See you tomorrow,

Jessica Mathews
Twitter: @jessicakmathews
Email: jessica.mathews@fortune.com


- Lineage Logistics, a Novi, Mich.-based warehousing and temperature-controlled logistics services company, raised $1.7 billion in funding from investors including BentallGreenOak, CenterSquare Investment Management, Cohen & Steers, D1 Capital Partners, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, NYSTRS, OP Trust, Oxford Properties, QuadReal Property Group, Rabobank, StepStone, and others.

​​- Eikon Therapeutics, a Hayward, Calif.-based live-cell super-resolution microscopy for drug discovery company, raised $517.8 million in Series B funding from investors including T. Rowe Price Associates funds, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, EcoR1 Capital, UC Investments, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Stepstone Group, Lux Capital, and Soros Capital.

- Miro, a San Francisco-based visual collaboration online platform, raised $400 million in Series C funding from investors including ICONIQ Growth, Accel, Atlassian, Dragoneer, GIC, Salesforce Ventures, and TCV.

- PayFit, a London-based payroll and HR management solution for SMEs, raised €254M ($287.2 million) in Series E funding led by General Atlantic and was joined by investors including Eurazeo, Bpifrance, and Accel Ventures

- Remilk, a Rehovot, Israel-based dairy product substitute company, raised $120 million in Series B funding led by Hanaco Ventures and was joined by investors including Precision Capital, Rage Capital, CPT Capital, Intercap, OurCrowd, Aliya Capital, Chartered Group, Indorama Ventures, Tal Ventures, and others.

- Korro Bio, a Cambridge, Mass.-based RNA therapeutics developer, raised $116 million in Series B funding led by Eventide Asset Management, and was joined by investors including Fidelity Investments, Invus, Point72, Verition Fund Management, Monashee Investment Management, and Sixty Degree Capital.

- Labelbox, a training data platform for enterprise machine learning applications, raised $110 million in Series D funding led by Softbank and was joined by investors including Snowpoint Ventures, Databricks Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and ARK Invest CEO Catherine Wood.

- Alto Solutions, a Nashville-based self-directed alternative asset and crypto IRA platform, raised $40 million in Series B funding led by Advance Venture Partners and was joined by investors including Unusual Ventures, Acrew Capital, Alpha Edison, Foundation Capital, Gaingels, and Coinbase Ventures. ​

mPharma, an Accra, Ghana-based pharmaceutical data analytics platform, raised $35 million in pre-Series D funding from investors including JAM Fund, Unbound, Lux Capital, Novastar Ventures, Social Capital, Northstar Group, and Citi.

- Xage, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based blockchain-protected security platform, raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Piva and was joined by Momenta, Valor Equity Partners, OurCrowd, March Capital, City Light Capital, Saints Capital, and Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures.

- Little Otter, a San Francisco-based mental health tool and treatment company for children and their families, raised $22 million in Series A funding led by CRV and was joined by investors including Torch Capital, Vast Ventures, Hinsdale, Boxgroup, _Able, Carrie Penner Walton, G9, and Springbank Collective

- CryptoSlam, an Overland Park, Kansas-based NFT data and transparency provider, raised $9 million in funding led by Animoca Brands and was joined by investors including Mark Cuban and Sound Ventures.

- Protai, a Tel Aviv-based AI-powered drug discovery startup, raised $8 million in seed funding co-led by Grove Ventures and Pitango HealthTech

- ReadyWorks, a White Plains, N.Y.-based IT infrastructure management platform, raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Credit Suisse’s NEXT Investors.

- Mauna Kea Semiconductors, a low-power ultra-wideband company, raised $12.8 million in pre-Series A funding led by Lightspeed China Partners and was joined by investors including Qiming Venture and Ivy Capital.

- Augment, a Seattle, Wash.-based AI-powered productivity platform, raised $3.5 million in seed funding from FlyingFish Ventures and Jazz Venture Partners.


Sumeru Equity Partners invested $70 million in iProov, a London-based biometric face authentication company.

- Main Street Capital invested $24.8 million in debt and equity in Career Team Holdings, a North Haven, Conn.-based development services and learning and case management software solution. Iron Creek Partners also invested.

- Triman Industries, an AE Industrial Partners portfolio company, acquired Brighton Cromwell, a Morristown, N.J.-based distribution, logistics and kitting solutions to the Department of Defense, prime contractors, and OEMs; and Crestwood Technology Group, a Yonkers, N.Y.-based parts supplier and materiel and obsolescence management solutions to the Department of Defense, commercial airlines, MRO providers and OEMs. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Advancing Eyecare, an Atlantic Street Capital portfolio company, acquired Santinelli International, a Hauppauge, N.Y.-based optical finishing equipment provider.

- Amplity Health, an Altamont Capital Partners portfolio company, agreed to acquire The Lynx Group, a Cranbury, N.J.-based medical communications company specializing in oncology and complex drugs. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Breck Partners acquired Essential Cabinetry Group, a Simpsonville, S.C.-based manufacturer of kitchen and bath cabinetry. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Clearlake Capital Group invested in Dodge Construction Network, a Hamilton, N.J.-based independent data platform for U.S. commercial construction companies. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Dude Solutions, backed by Clearlake Capital Group, acquired Energy Profiles Limited, a Toronto-based ESG optimization software platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Fenix Parts, a Stellex Capital Management portfolio company, acquired Keiffer Auto Recyclers, a Canton, Ohio-based automotive recycling facility. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Hg agreed to acquire ProcessMAP, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based environmental, health and safety software platform provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Highview Capital acquired Watterson, a Schaumberg, Ill.-based facility services company. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Integrated Global Services, a J.F. Lehman & Company portfolio company, acquired AmStar, GE Steam Power’s on-site thermal spray coatings technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- M/C Partners acquired Edafio Technology Partners, a Little Rock, Ar.-based IT services company for mid-market and SMB customers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Rush Island Management, a New York-based real estate investment manager formerly known as Northwood Liquid Management, completed a buyout from Northwood Investors. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Oliver, a Pfingsten portfolio company, acquired Professional Image, a Tulsa, Okla.-based custom folding carton packaging manufacturer and specialty stock packaging and accessory e-commerce provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- RoadSafe Traffic Systems, backed by Trilantic North America and Investcorp, acquired Clark Pavement Marking, an Apex, N.C.-based pavement marking products and services company. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Tilley-Phoenix Group, a SK Capital Partners portfolio company, acquired Callahan Chemical Company, a Walpole, Mass.-based ingredients and compounds distributor. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Traub Capital Partners agreed to acquire Brand Castle, a Bedford Hts., Oh.-based gingerbread house and dessert decorating platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.


- SharpLink Gaming agreed to acquire the iGaming and affiliate marketing network of FourCubed Management, a Minneapolis-based online gaming company, for $8.15 million in cash and restricted ordinary shares.

- CommentSold acquired Vizzlie, a social media and communication tool. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- MoneyGram International acquired a 4% stake in Coinme, a U.S. cryptocurrency cash exchange. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Nexon invested $400 million in AGBO, an artist-led independent entertainment company. A deal values AGBO at $900 million before cash.

- Smartly.io, acquired Ad-Lib.io, the London-based creative optimization platform for creative and media teams. Financial terms were not disclosed.  

- TodayTix Group acquired Goldstar, a Pasadena, Calif.-based live events discovery and ticketing platform. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Voyager Space acquired a majority stake in Space Micro, a San Diego-based engineering company for ​​satellite communications, digital, and electro-optic systems. Financial terms were not disclosed.


- Authentic Brands Group, a New York City-based brand management company that owns Forever 21, Brooks Brothers and others, withdrew its IPO filing. BlackRock, Leonard Green & Partners and General Atlantic back the firm.

- Tuhu, a Chinese online car-services company, is moving its IPO to Hong Kong from the U.S., according to Bloomberg. Goldman Sachs Group and Tencent Holdings back the firm.


- Grove Ventures, a Tel Aviv-based early-stage venture capital firm, raised $185 million for a third fund.


- Bregal Sagemount, a New York-based private equity firm, promoted Will Breskman and Jordan Walton to vice president.

- Grain Management, a Washington, D.C.-based telecom-focused private equity firm, hired Craig Phillips as Chief Operating and Growth Officer. He was formerly with the U.S. Treasury.

- Revolution Growth, a Washington, D.C.-based growth-stage venture capital fund, hired Fazeela Abdul Rashid as partner. 

- Silversmith Capital Partners, a Boston-based growth equity firm, promoted Rafael Urdaneta to CFO.

- TA Associates, a Boston, Mass.-based private equity firm, promoted Max Cancre to director from principal; Clara Jackson to director from principal; Lovisa Lander to director from principal; Michael Libert to director from principal; Emily McGinty to director from principal; Amara Suebsaeng to director from principal; Andrew Tay to director from principal; Jérémy Dréan to principal from senior vice president; Jessica Gilligan to principal from senior vice president; Amit Jain to principal from senior vice president; Nicholas Leppla to principal from senior vice president; Charles Ha to senior vice president from vice president; Gurnoor Kaur to vice president from senior associate; and Michele Lim to vice president from senior associate. 

- TPG, a Fort Worth, Tex.-based private equity firm, promoted Neil Kamath to vice president of the TPG Tech Adjacencies Fund.

- Trilantic North America, a New York-based private equity firm, hired Jennifer Fox Bensimon as managing director. Formerly, she was at LNK Partners.

This is the web version of Term Sheet, a daily newsletter on the biggest deals and dealmakers. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.

Read More

CEO DailyCFO DailyBroadsheetData SheetTerm Sheet