(Photo by C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia)
Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT) just released its annual report on venture investment spending in the region, and unsurprisingly, in 2019, Philadelphia continued to be a strong attraction for VC dollars into life sciences and technology companies.
Notably, though, the region was ranked seventh in the country for investment dollars after setting a record of close to $2.5 billion in investments. Compare that to the $1.4 billion in deals that took place in the area in 2018.
On-demand delivery startup goPuff’s $750 million investment that went down in August likely plays a large part in this ranking, PACT President and CEO Dean Miller said. (Note: Technical.ly reported a mere $1.35 billion in 2019 deals at the end of January because we were looking at a PricewaterhouseCoopers/CB Insights MoneyTree report that didn’t account for the previously secret goPuff deal). The PACT report names this deal as the biggest-ever round of fundraising for a startup in Philly.
“There is a trend that you see more and more of in the venture world with companies like goPuff, Miller said. “This concentration of venture capital into later-stage companies.”
PACT also outlined area investors who were pouring money into the region over the last decade. Ben Franklin Technology Partners (BFTP) topped the list, making 356 investments between 2010 and 2019. BioAdvance followed with 83 investments, Robin Hood Ventures with 77, DreamIt Ventures with 49, Keiretsu Forum with 32 and Osage Venture Partners with 31.
BFTP’s financial and support commitment to area companies is extremely notable, Miller said, especially since the org has lost state funding in the last few years. The scale of investments is something to keep watch, too.
“That hopefully catches the eye, and it should because they’re doing some great work,” he added. “It makes you think, ‘If they were more fully funded, what would it look like?'”
Miller also said that 2019 was a year for outside dollars coming to Philly, meaning that the city is seeing more investments coming from places like Silicon Valley, Boston and New York City. The $750 million goPuff deal comes from Japanese conglomerate SoftBank and represents a large portion of these outside-of-Philly investments.
The area continues to be home to a collection of slower but steady deals and industries, Miller said. Software and healthcare continue to lead the pack in Philadelphia, and while there’s been a stagnant number of deals over the last few years, folks are making larger deals, the report shows.
“This should not be lost on us, we have a broad platform of industry strength,” Miller said. “We’re building a really sustainable base of activity.”-30-
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