During 2012, many of the metrics describing the venture capital industry in the United States were similar to those of the prior two years. The decline in the number of firms and capital managed was expected but not as large as some were anticipating. Venture investment focused on companies in the seed and early stages, with many later-stage companies continuing to await a helpful IPO environment. Investment in early-stage life science companies continues to soften.
Fundraising remained very challenging for the majority of venture firms, largely because of a dearth of healthy exits that would distribute yet-unrealized returns to current fund investors. The number of initial public offerings in 2012 fell slightly from 2011 levels, but the proceeds and IPO valuation tally were both up significantly,largely as a result of one huge IPO and a handful of large ones.
A healthy venture capital ecosystem requires its metrics to be in balance. And while the quality of new business opportunities, known as deal flow, remains very high and the best opportunities are getting funded, stresses remain.