Upstart health care technology companies in Minnesota experienced a late-year surge in private investments that made 2015 the best year for med-tech fundraising since the Great Recession.
Research published this week by the trade group Medical Alley Association (formerly known as LifeScience Alley) found that Minnesota health technology companies raised $435 million in private investments in 2015. That was a 1 percent improvement over 2014, which was the previous record-holder since the association starting keeping detailed reports in 2009.
"To come in and close 2015 higher than 2014 was really quite amazing," said Cheryl Matter, a vice president with the Medical Alley Association. "When we look at those last two years in health tech investments in Minnesota, we're talking $865.8 million coming in to health care technology companies. We're … creeping up on that billion-dollar number in just the last couple of years."
The group gets its information on venture capital and other private investments through a combination of public announcements, reports from member companies and market-data firms.
The association's conclusion that 2015 was a strong year capped by a particularly strong fourth quarter dovetails with findings from the annual MoneyTree report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association based on data from Thomson Reuters.
The MoneyTree report says 2015 was the best year for venture capital fundraising among all Minnesota companies since 2008. And more venture capital money flowed into Minnesota companies in the last quarter of 2015 than in the first nine months combined.
All told, the MoneyTree report documented nearly $360 million in venture capital funding in 2015.
The tally is different from the Medical Alley figure because the groups measure slightly different things. Medical Alley's figures are focused on health technology companies and counts all types of private funding, including venture and private equity and contributions from large established medical-device companies investing in start-ups.
Maple Grove's NxThera conducted one of the state industry's largest funding rounds in December when it completed a $40 million round of private financing led by the large device-maker Boston Scientific Corp. It included follow-on investments from several venture and private equity groups that have supported NxThera in the past.
In October Forest Lake's Cardionomic completed a $20 million Series A funding round with investors including venture capital giant New Enterprise Associates, the Cleveland Clinic health system, and longtime medical device maker Greatbatch. Both the NxThera and Cardionomic deals were announced in news releases.