Young Minnesota companies raised $91.6 million in venture capital in the fourth quarter, closing out the best year for venture funding in the state since 2008.
Total venture investment in Minnesota in 2014 came out to $368.4 million, compared with $269.9 million in 2013, according to the MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters. The robust figures were also reflected nationally.
“It was a fantastic quarter, and it really topped off an outstanding year,” said Mark Scholtes, a partner for PwC in Minneapolis.
In 2014, it was the traditional powerhouse of the region — medical devices — that attracted the bulk of new investment in Minnesota, about $245.6 million according to the MoneyTree data.
The two biggest deals in the fourth quarter were in the medical device industry. Respicardia, a firm in Minnetonka, attracted a $25 million round of investment, and Coventus Orthopaedics in Maple Grove picked up $24 million.
Medical device investment nationally rose from $2.1 billion in 2013 to $2.7 billion in 2014.
“The sector is starting to heat up, a lot of investment is coming back,” said Cheryl Matter, director of intelligence and research for LifeScience Alley, a trade group in St. Louis Park.
The number of initial public offerings for medical technology companies rose from four in 2013 to 25 in 2014, Matter said, and health IT and biotech are growing.
Her group’s analysis shows that medical device investment, including non-venture funding, was even higher last year in Minnesota than the MoneyTree data shows — about $322 million. Life sciences investment, which includes the growing health IT and biotech fields, was $430 million.
“Med-tech remains strong, but our pie is getting bigger,” Matter said.
Nationally, venture capitalists are mostly chasing software investment, which offers quicker returns than medical devices. According to the MoneyTree report, software firms raised $19.8 billion in 2014. The next-highest industry was biotechnology, which raised $6 billion.
The big news in venture capital funding for the year was the $1.2 billion raised by ride-hailing service Uber in June.
In Minnesota, software was a distant second to medical devices in attracting venture funding in 2014. The industry raised $55.9 million in 2014. The state’s biggest software deal of the year was the $15 million raised by Sport Ngin, a Minneapolis sports software company.
The figures for venture capital for software may also underestimate the amount of investment in Minnesota. Tech.MN’s running tally for the third quarter showed that at least 21 firms attracted $45 million.
The fourth-quarter tally hasn’t been released yet, but will likely be larger than the MoneyTree total, since Tech.MN’s figures take into account angel investment and other types of funding.