Thanks, goPuff: With $1.6B raised, Q1 2021 was Philly's best quarter for VC deals in 25 years - Technical.ly Philly

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Thanks, goPuff: With $1.6B raised, Q1 2021 was Philly’s best quarter for VC deals in 25 years

The first quarter has already seen more investment than the full year for many years prior.

An aerial look of Philadelphia.

(Photo by Philly by Drone)

Full disclosure: This quarter's figures may vary slightly, as some deals aren’t accounted for until weeks after the quarterly MoneyTree reports are published.

After a surprisingly good year for venture capital in 2020, the Philadelphia region came back even stronger in 2021. Q1 of this year represented the best quarterly investment period in at least the last 25 years.

From January through March, the Philadelphia region saw $1.647 billion in investments, a 136% jump from the end of last year, a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)/CB Insights MoneyTree report shows.

That $1.647 billion went into 34 deals, PwC found, and represented nearly all of Pennsylvania’s deals for the quarter. A large chunk of the total investment likely comes from goPuff’s massive $1.15 billion raise in March, the third time the company has raised a huge amount to propel growth in the last year and a half.

Of the state’s total of 39 deals, three of the top five came from the Philly region, and the mobile and telecom industry rose to the this quarter, thanks to the goPuff deal. Following that was healthcare, which received $370 million in investment, and internet, which received $85 million.

All of which shakes out to mean this: Philly just had its best quarter ever in the history of the PwC MoneyTree report, which has been around since 1995. It already beat out the entirety of 2020, when the region saw a total of $1.47 billion in 73 deals.

“To put the magnitude of this plainly, if Philadelphia metro companies received $1.6 billion for the whole year, it would have been the second best year of all time,” Brad Phillips, a director in PwC’s emerging companies practice, told Technical.ly. “It’s remarkable, it’s hard to find any bad news for Philadelphia and PA.”

A caveat to these top-line numbers: Without goPuff, the Philly region raised less than $500 million. But that’s still pretty good when compared to a typical quarter.

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The quarter alone is coming close to 2019 numbers, which cleared more than $2 billion in funding after totals accounted for goPuff’s $750 million investment from SoftBank that the world learned of in early 2020.

The state is having similarly impressive numbers, ranking nine in deals and fourth in total dollars, which Phillips said was the highest ranking he could remember.

And when it comes to national numbers, U.S. companies accounted for $62 billion in investments in the first quarter, a 117% year over year increase, the report shows. A trend emerging over the last few years of bigger deal sizes and increased dollars has continued, Phillips said. And 1,735 deals were made total with 184 megarounds (deals of $100 million) included.

“Seeing that level of investment is remarkable,” he said.

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