If you want the fattest venture capital check possible for your startup, you might consider corporate money.
The average deal check from corporate VCs in the fourth quarter was $24 million, compared to $16.7 million from a traditional VC. That's a significant step up from the same period a year ago, when the average corporate deal was about $14 million, according to a new report from CB Insights, a venture capital research firm.
As its name implies, corporate venture capital comes from the venture arms of large companies--think Google and Comcast--which typically invest in startups with the potential of acquiring them later on. It's often cheaper for them to fund a hot startup and acquire it later than it is to build the talent in house, according to corporate venture capital experts. That strategy is a bit different from traditional venture capital companies, which are not affiliated with large corporations, and which fund startups frequently with the intention of taking them public.
Corporate venture funds are also increasingly interested in financing at the seed level, as they want to get involved from the earliest stages in helping to build companies that can complement their own strategic growth plans. Corporate VCs did a total of 54 deals in 2014, up nearly 60 percent from 2013 and more than double the number in 2012.
The top corporate venture investors for 2014 were Google, Intel, Salesforce Ventures, Comcast, and Qualcomm.
Some of the biggest corporate venture deals in 2014 were Uber, which took in $1.2 billion, Cloudera, which got $900 million, and Tango, which nabbed $280 million. Google Ventures, Intel Capital and Alibaba, respectively, led the funding rounds for each.