It seems that everything is going digital these days. First, mail became electronic, then newspapers succumbed to the movement, and now, you can even put an “e-“ in front of cigarettes. It makes sense—after all, we want everything to be faster, more efficient and more convenient. In few places is that more apparent than shopping. Who wants to sit in traffic on the way to the mall, search tirelessly for a parking spot, scour the aisles and stand in long checkout lines? It’s much easier and more convenient to relax on your couch and peruse countless shopping sites until you find the perfect deal(s) for you.
VC investors are definitely buying into the digital shopping movement, backing the companies that do the selling, as well as the companies that provide the software and services to make e-commerce possible. Since the beginning of 2009, VC investors have bankrolled 191 U.S.-headquartered companies in the e-commerce space, according to the PitchBook Platform. Total capital invested in the industry more than tripled from $174 million in 2009 to $588 million in 2010, and then more than doubled to $1.4 billion in 2011. Though last year took a dip in terms of total capital invested in the space (compared to 2011), dropping to $623 million, the deal count stayed relatively even (only budging from 100 completed financings to 94).