As to be expected at the start of a new year, funding announcements were a little slow out of the blocks, with nearly 20 investments less than December and more than 30 less than November, as January recorded 56 investments with $182.1 million invested.
Looking back at January’s in previous years, it’s always been one of the slowest months of each year, however, it’s notable that there were just 6 investments more than this point of last year, a 12% growth rate compared to the overall rate of +100% that was recorded towards the end of 2016.
Although there wasn’t much difference compared to January 2016 in terms of the number of investments, the amount of capital noticeably increased, as the ecosystem continues to mature and more investments are happening at later stages.
Even compared to months where more investments are made, $182.1 million is a particularly strong month for capital.
The dip in the number of investments puts January more on a par with the first half of 2016 rather than the last half which saw a surge in investments.
Although I’d expect things to considerably pick up and wouldn’t take January’s performance as any real indicator of how we can expect the year to perform, it would be remiss of me not to mention that the drop witnessed month-on-month is the biggest we’ve ever recorded.
Finland had an uncharacteristic noisier start to the year than usual, adding some credence to my opinion that 2017 will see a significant increase in Finnish investments after a couple of rather stagnant years growth wise.
Other than that, there are no outliers to mention, with all countries following their expected trajectories.
In the clearest sign yet that the ecosystem is witnessing the maturity it needs to continue growing, there were just as many investments over $1 million as there were under it.
$0.5-$1 million still looks like a pot-hole, with investors and companies seemingly more comfortable with raising amounts slightly higher, in the $1-3 million range.
iZettle’s $63.8 million investment provided us with our first $50 million+ investment of the year, and obviously helped with the high amount of capital recorded.
Deep Tech is having a bit of a renaissance in investor interest currently, as investments rose as well as increased chatter from VCs (an observation from my own conversations).
Elsewhere, FinTech’s strong funding performance from the end of 2015 and start of 2016 hasn’t seen a revival just yet.
Just over 1 in 5 funding rounds in January had a minimum of one International investor participate, which is pretty much par for the course these days.
With 50% of the funding rounds I’d perhaps of expected this percentage to be slightly higher, however this speaks volumes to the increased local funding options Nordic companies have now compared to three years ago.
Overall, it was a pretty underwhelming start to the year in terms of the number of investments, however, the number of investments above $1 million was definitely a silver lining.
These monthly analyses are not meant to be taken too seriously as a predictor of the year (or rest of) but rather a temperature check of various trends. To that end we’d say January was much like the British weather, you can never be sure what to expect next, everything’s possible.