Crowdfunding / Funding / Science / Venture capital

Philly saw $1.35B in business deals in 2019, with life sciences leading

A year of high-spend deals is good news for others looking to raise money.

Philly's future is bright. (Photo by Julie Zeglen)

Last fall, Philadelphia was on track to have its best-ever year in terms of business deals since the year 2000. Now that Q4 has officially come to an end and we’ve entered a new decade, that statement has rung true.

In 2019, Philadelphia saw $1.351 billion in deals — accounting for most of the entire state’s $1.57 billion, according to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)/CB Insights MoneyTree report.

Philadelphia continued to rise in dollars spent, crossing $1 billion in deals for the first time since the new millennium.

The region saw 89 deals this past year compared to 2018’s 108, the report said. But a trend in deals for the region mirrors the national numbers — there are fewer deals made in 2019 than in previous years, but the amount spent has been higher. Investors put nearly half a billion dollars more into deals in 2019 than in 2018.

“The Philadelphia region had a dream year, any way you look at it — dollars, deal size, any of those point to an outstanding year for the region,” Brad Phillips, an advisor to emerging technology and life science companies at PwC, told

Philips also said that the leading industry in terms of deals by far was healthcare, which accounted for $1.045 billion of all the money spent in the region last year. A “distant second” was internet, and third was mobile and telecom, he said.

One of the region’s biggest successes, and one of the year’s three mega-deals (deals over $100 million) was a deal by Century Therapeutics, which raised $250 million to use adult stem cells to develop curative allogeneic cell therapies for cancer. Others include genetic medicines company Passage Bio’s also-massive $115 million Series A in Q1 and $110 Series B in Q3.

Other significant deals include Plymouth Meeting-based biopharmaceutical company Harmony Biosciences’ $50 million,  HealthVerity’s Series C that raised $25 million, data analytics startup Crossbeam’s $12.5 million, Nerd Street Gamers’ $12 million series A, ecommerce company Sidecar’s $7.5 million and cell therapy startup Carisma Therapeutics’ $6 million.

These numbers should be great news to companies looking for investors in 2020 and beyond, Phillips said.

“When funding increases in an area, it shows other investors that it’s a worthwhile place to spend money,” he said.

P.S. Notably missing from this list and figures: goPuff. The Callowhill-based on-demand delivery service company got a secret $750 million investment from Japanese conglomerate SoftBank last August. (It would be the region’s first tech unicorn with a household name.) But of course, because it was kept quiet until the news broke late last week, it’s not showing up in any roundups yet.

Companies: Nerd Street / Crossbeam / HealthVerity / Sidecar

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