This figure, coming from the MoneyTree™ Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), based on data provided by Thomson Reuters, represents the second highest full year total in the last 20 years.
In the fourth quarter of 2015, venture capitalists invested $11.3 billion into 962 deals, down 32 percent in dollars and 16 percent in deals compared with the third quarter when $16.6 billion was invested in 1,149 deals.
The fourth quarter also marks the eighth consecutive quarter of more than $10 billion of venture capital invested in a single quarter, but also represents the smallest amount invested since the third quarter of 2014.
In 2015, there were 74 investments of $100 million or more, compared with 50 in 2014. In total, Financial Services (+183%), Consumer Products & Services (+57%), and Healthcare Services (+133%) saw the stronger growth compared to 2014.
The software industry continued to receive the highest level of funding of all industries in the fourth quarter, receiving $4.5 billion going into 369 deals, despite being down 24% in dollars and 17% in deals compared to the third quarter.
For the full year of 2015, Software was up 8% in dollars, but down 5% in deals, compared to 2014. Four of the top 10 megadeals in the fourth quarter went to software companies.
The biotechnology industry received the second largest amount of venture capital for the quarter, with $1.5 billion going into 95 deals. While dollars invested declined 32% and the number of deals declined 25% compared to the third quarter, Biotech ended the year up 17% in dollars and flat in deals for the full year 2015, compared to the previous year. Biotech did not secure any of the Top 10 deals.
Investments in the Life Sciences sector (Biotechnology and Medical Devices combined) during the fourth quarter accounted for $2 billion going into 172 deals, declining 31% in dollars and 16% in deals, compared with the third quarter. Like in the previous quarter, Life Sciences investments accounted for 18% of all venture capital deployed to the startup ecosystem in the fourth quarter. In 2015, Life Sciences dollars were up 12% and deals were down 3%, compared with 2014.
Media & Entertainment companies received the third largest amount of venture capital for the quarter with $881 million deployed across 114 deals, which is a 40% decrease in dollars compared to the third quarter, despite a 14% increase in number of deals. One of the top 10 megadeals was within the Media & Entertainment space in the fourth quarter. For 2015, Media & Entertainment dollars remained flat, and deals were down 13% versus 2014.
Industries experiencing decreases in dollars invested in the fourth quarter were Business Products & Services (-77%), Semiconductors (-58%) and Computers and Peripherals (-57%).