Valuations of VC-backed companies continued their dizzying climb as the venture ecosystem reveled in record levels of dry powder and the proliferation of nontraditional investors during the past year.
Here’s a closer look at five key charts from our 2021 Annual US VC Valuations Report that depict how startup valuations continued to show resiliency across the venture lifecycle in 2021.
1. Early-stage valuations spike to new heights
Early-stage companies in the US crossed the $80 billion mark in capital investment in 2021, according to our latest PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor. Last year, the median valuation for early-stage companies reached $45 million, 50% growth year-over-year, resembling median late-stage valuation metrics from just a few years ago.
2. Late-stage step-ups reach highest peak yet
After remaining steady for the past few years, valuation step-ups for late-stage deals picked up steam in 2021. It is unlikely that the figure is primarily influenced by large increases in small valuations, as more than half of the top 20 valuation step-ups in 2021 are mega-deals raised at unicorn valuations.
3. Fintech valuations on the rise
Fintech startups are building on a year of pandemic-fueled growth and seeing valuations vault to record highs in 2021. At the late-stage, the top quartile for US fintech valuations crossed $1 billion for the first time.
4. Nontraditional investors push median late-stage valuations
Increased participation from nontraditional investors added upward pressure on both deal sizes and valuations. At the late stage, the median valuation of deals with nontraditional investor participation reached $200 million—two times growth over 2020.
5. VC step-ups at exit remain historically high in Q4
Valuation step-ups at exit for public listings are in tandem with the growth of absolute valuations over the last few years. The median public listing valuation hit more than $796 million in 2021 as public market investors sustained an elevated demand for growth assets.
Related read: 2021 Annual US VC Valuations Report
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