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Md. companies brought in more venture capital last year

(Alexstar / Depositphotos.com)

(Alexstar / Depositphotos.com)

Thanks to a flurry of fourth-quarter activity, Maryland companies finished a strong rebound year and received more venture capital in 2017 than they did in 2016, according to the MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and CB Insights.

More than $889 million was invested in Maryland companies last year, up from $282 million the year before. The fourth quarter alone saw more than $401 million invested, more than nine times what was invested in 2016’s fourth quarter. More than half of the fourth-quarter investment, and 30 percent of the 2017 total, went Bethesda-based Precision Medicine Group.

“Maryland as a state had an outstanding year,” said Brad Phillips, director of emerging company services at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “The trend is certainly upwards, and that’s encouraging.”

The higher amount of capital invested came over the same amount of deals. In both 2016 and 2017, there were 66 deals recorded.

More money into the same or a fewer amount of deals followed the national trend. Last year, $71.9 billion was invested nationwide in venture-backed companies, up 17 percent from 2016. But the number of overall deals was down 4 percent from 2016, to 5,052 last year.

That could be a troubling sign for some venture-backed firms, because it could be showing a slowdown in early deals for companies, including seed funding.

“Early-stage funding is critical for the ecosystem,” Phillips said. “We’ll be keeping an eye on that for 2018, but we do believe the ecosystem is still healthy.”

He noted that a lot of early-stage capital has been “sitting on the sidelines.” That trend holds in Maryland, where some early-stage funds, like the Maryland Momentum Fund, have just been formed and will look to increase their output this year.

Nationally, the MoneyTree report found that last year saw 109 mega-rounds, investments of more than $100 million, more than it ever has in the history of the report, which dates back to 1995. 

Maryland recorded one mega-round last quarter. Precision Medicine Group received $275 million across multiple investors, including Berkshire Partners, J.H. Whitney, Oak Investment Partners and TPG Growth.

Baltimore’s Personal Genome Diagnostics recorded the city’s largest investment in the fourth quarter, with $65 million from New Enterprise Associates.

Among the other top deals in Maryland last quarter:

  • Aledade, a Bethesda-based health care company that supports primary care physicians forming Accountable Care Organizations, received $23 million;
  • Catalyte, a Baltimore computer services company, received $12.8 million;
  • Mytonomy, a Bethesda health software company, received $7 million;
  • Terbium Labs, a Baltimore machine learning company, received $6 million;
  • Enveil, a Fulton data security company, received $4 million;
  • Breethe, a Baltimore medical device company that makes a wearable artificial lung, received $3 million;
  • Zeteo Tech, a sykesvill security company, received $2 million; and
  • Workbench, an internet learning company, received $1.7 million.

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