Startups hoping to raise a nine-figure round in the future had best temper their ambition; venture funding events worth $100 million or more are going extinct — quickly.
A few years back, nine-figure venture funding events were common. So much so that during my Crunchbase News days, we started to call them “supergiant” rounds to avoid having to spell out their size. Hell, we actually ran regular reports of rounds worth a few hundred million or more until sheer volume made it impractical. Good times.
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Now more than a year past the peak of the 2021 venture boom, it’s clear that those days are behind us. And while it took much longer to deflate the $100 million round bubble than I expected, if trends continue, nine-figure venture funding events will become, once again, rare enough to warrant our attention.
The $100 million round’s fall from prominence is an Icarian saga. PitchBook data collected by TechCrunch this morning tells a simple story: From a stable base of around 75 such funding events per quarter through 2019 and much of 2020, the pace at which venture investors pumped capital into startups in nine-figure chunks exploded through 2021, only to come crashing down to prior levels in roughly the same amount of time as it took to reach its peak.
The data is stark: From 75 $100 million or greater funding events in Q1 2019 to 426 in Q4 2021, the pace of nine-figure venture deals has retreated to just 57 thus far in the first quarter of 2023.
Naturally, we’ll see the current quarterly tally tick higher over the coming weeks, but it’s certainly going to close out Q1 under the 157 that we saw in Q4 2022.
Here’s the chart of mega-round deal volume from the start of 2019 through today: