More money is going to fewer funds. That’s the takeaway from a recent report by the National Venture Capital Association on the state of venture capital for the first quarter of 2013.
While firms raised more money this quarter than they did last quarter ($4.1 billion vs. 3.3 billion), the number of funds themselves shrunk from 44 to 35, the lowest number of funds raised in a quarter since Spring 2003.
John Taylor, head of research for NVCA, warned that this “first quarter venture fundraising represents more than just a 'slow start' to the year and really demonstrates the contracting and consolidating nature of our asset class."
“We should be prepared for fewer funds in 2013, which will ultimately decrease investments levels from traditional firms,” he continued.
In terms of dollars raised, follow-on funds (as opposed to new funds, which are defined as the first fund at a new firm) took in the lions-share-- 98 percent of total dollar commitments in the first quarter of this year went to them. New funds are struggling, perhaps, because there's a lack of a "strong exit market [which] is keeping many funds that would like to be raising money away from investors until they can demonstrate a track record,” Taylor said.
This disparity is more dramatic than usual; over the past 5 years, follow-on funds have accounted for, on average, only 92 percent of total VC fundraising.