After releasing our analysis of 2016’s funding activity yesterday, today we turn our attentions to the final quarter of that year, three months that could in fact be considered the main reason that 2016 achieved such investment heights, as Q4 saw a record breaking 223 investments totalling $448.3 million.
As we noted yesterday, 223 investments was nearly 70 investments more than Q1 2016, enabling the year to end on a real high, and meaning that nearly 1 in 3 investments that were announced last year were done so in the last three months of the year, as the concerns regarding the global economy and a potential investment bubble that dominated at the beginning of the year began to die down.
It was also a strong quarter for capital raised, and despite being third in the total amount raised per quarter in 2016, there is a case to be made for it being the most robust. While Q1 benefited from Spotify’s $1 billion debt round and Q3 Unity’s $181 million Series C, Q4’s highest round was Neo Technology’s $35.9 million Series D. The $448.3 million raised in total was rather spread out amongst the high quantity of investments instead of one superstar round making up the majority as we had seen in other quarters last year.
It’s almost a waste of words to state that Sweden came out on top for the most investments in the quarter. More interesting perhaps is the fact that despite recording less investments overall than Denmark in 2016, Q4 was an exceptionally strong one for Finnish companies.
In fact, 41% of their total investments for the year were announced in the final three months. This is a trend that has been repeated in the two previous years as well, as the additional impact of making investment announcements around Slush is likely playing a role in this.
Q4 was when deals above the $5 million mark finally started to happen in the region, with it being a slow year up until that point, something that led to us warning of a potential bottleneck or the return of the “Series A Crunch” if we didn’t see an increase.
The rise in the investments above $5-10 million is best demonstrated when looking at the two previous quarters.
After publishing our yearly analysis yesterday, I questioned the importance of even publishing a Q4 analysis at all. However, due to it being such a pivotal quarter in the year due to the number and type of investments I decided it was worth drilling down into it. Another reason, was that it can be valuable to look at investments by vertical per quarter in order to get an idea of what is currently ‘hot’.
Social and Communications, Food and Drink and Energy particularly stood out alongside the usual candidates.
With only 16.1% of the rounds containing one or more investors based outside of the region, it was a slow quarter for International investment interest. This is in part due to the large amount of investments made at a pre-seed/seed level as well as an increase in local funding options available.
Q4 turned 2016 into an impressive investment year for the region into a very impressive one. As everyone is now beginning to return to work after the holidays, it remains to be seen whether the momentum will carry into the first quarter of 2017, or whether there will be a lull as everyone settles back into their rhythm.