It’s common for the largest deals to come from bold-faced names, as we saw with Uber, Airbnb, Dropbox and others who expanded in 2014. However, last year's most interesting developments came from some of the youngest companies. Tracking deal activity at these smaller firms can act as a window into which sectors are poised to grow and how both the funding cycle and startup path is transforming.
Little-known companies are raising larger rounds earlier, thanks to buzz over tech IPOs, market optimism and hedge funds willing to give them a chance, says Adley Bowden, senior director of analysis at PitchBook, a Seattle-based data provider on the private markets. 2014 saw a whopping 157 early-stage financings besting the $25 million mark, well above any tallies in the past fifteen years, blurring the lines between funding rounds, according to PitchBook.
Juno Therapeutics, founded in 2013, signifies this VC trend. Last year, the Seattle-based developer of cancer treatments raised more than $300 million in early-stage funding from backers like Bezos Expeditions and the State of Alaska’s direct investment fund. It later pulled off one of the largest biotech IPOs of 2014.
Juno took the top third and fifth spots in PitchBook’s list of top 10 early-stage VC deals. Check out the rest and learn who's catching both VC attention and dollars while remembering the world outside the typical Silicon Valley startup.