The gold rush may be long over, but plenty of people are still hitting the jackpot these days--particularly startup founders in Los Angeles and Orange County.
That’s according to the National Venture Capital Association’s third quarter survey, released Thursday, which indicates that overall investment slowed in the third quarter, but in Southern California, startups raked in serious dough.
The NVCA survey, produced each quarter in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers, shows that the total number of deals fell 11 percent to 1,202 in the third quarter compared to the second quarter, while venture dollars decreased 5 percent to $16.3 billion over the same time period. But in Los Angeles and Orange County, the $4.1 billion in deals for the third quarter is 38 percent higher than the full year of 2014.
Meanwhile, the dollar volume of such deals in the most recent third quarter nearly doubled compared to the third quarter of 2014. For the full year 2014, Southern California companies inked 290 deals, an increase of seven percent compared to 2013. There were 240 deals as of the third quarter 2015.
“Los Angeles feels like New York four years ago,” says David Pakman, a partner at Venrock Capital, of Menlo Park, California. “There are more deals and more companies being created there.”
Pakman helped Venrock lead a Series B Round in 2013 for $12 million in the online men’s grooming subscription service Dollar Shave Club, based in Los Angeles. Venrock, also an initial investor in the company, was joined by Comcast Ventures and New World Ventures in the deal.
Although Silicon Alley, with its startups in media and advertising, has been a fixture of New York life for nearly two decades, the Big Apple began transforming itself a few years ago into a venture capital hub that supports a thriving startup base. In addition to hosting numerous prominent venture capital firms, such as New Enterprise Associates and Gotham Ventures, the city has launched a raft of startup enhancing initiatives. Among others, the city is helping build an applied sciences and engineering campus, in conjunction with Cornell Univeristy, devoted to training high tech workers.
The NVCA survey shows how those efforts, and the city’s access to capital, have paid off. The total dollar volume of deals in New York increased 65 percent to $5.2 billion for the full year 2014 compared to the full year 2013.
Southern California may be in the process of transforming itself too, Pakman notes, as more urban areas have sought to duplicate Silicon Valley’s recipe for success, which favors access to capital, networks, and a vibrant locale. Over the years, startups have turned to more affordable hubs like Austin, Seattle, and Dallas, as they’ve been priced out of Silicon Valley, which has some of the most expensive commercial real estate in the world.
Los Angeles’ most famous startup today is, arguably, Snapchat, the $16 billion startup that has raised more than a billion dollars from e-commerce platform Alibaba, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Benchmark and others. But startup tracker Represent LA shows more than 1,000 startups operating in the area. Some other promising young companies in L.A. include alternative nutrition company and past 30 Under 30 winner Soylent and microfinance company InVenture.
Still, as a reality check, it’s important to note that Silicon Valley continues to rule the roost. Its startups have inked $23 billion in investment dollars for 2015, for 1,045 deals, the NVCA report shows.