While the three largest venture capital deals of the year in the technology industry went to consumer-focused startups, most of the other top investments went to companies building products that could reshape the enterprise IT landscape.
Final numbers for the amount of venture capital money poured into startups in 2014 have not yet been tallied, but already experts say 2014 is going to blow away such investments in at least each of the last five years. Through September, $33 billion had already been invested in the technology industry in 2014, which means investments made nine months into the year had already eclipsed the $30 billion in total handed out in 2013.
A variety of factors have led to the big year for VC investments, says Mark McCaffrey, the global software industry lead at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which tracks VC deals. "There was a lot of money sitting on the sidelines," he says. But with the macro domestic economy rebounding, VCs and private equity firms finally are pouring money back into startups, he says.
Below are 12 of the biggest VC tech deals of 2014, as ranked by PwC.
2014 funding: $1.4 billion
Investors: Google Ventures, Summit Partners, Menlo Venture and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, among others.
Profile: The app that is upending the transportation industry is also one of the hottest VC-backed companies in the world. San Francisco-based Uber started as a mobile app service in 2009 that connects people who need a ride with drivers, but founders Travis Kalanick and Garret Camp have big plans for the company to evolve into a much broader delivery service. The company's $1.4 billion funding round and $2.7 billion total funding will help the company not only expand its services, but its international reach too.
2014 funding: $280M
Investors: Access BridgeGap Ventures, Alibaba Capital Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, Mayfield Fund
Profile: Mountain View, Calif.-based Tango offers a mobile app that allows users to make free video and voice calls across Android and iOS devices over WiFi. Tango landed a $280 million funding round in March, with $215 million coming from Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba and another $65 million from existing investors. The 5-year old company's total VC funding is now $367 million. Tango says it already has 200 million users and boasts the 12th most downloaded Android app.
2014 funding: $250 million
Investors: Andreessen Horowitz, K9 Ventures, Mayfield Fund, Floodgate, Melo7 Tech Partner, GSV Capital, among others.
Profile:Lyft is similar to Uber, but meant to offer a peer-to-peer ride sharing experience, connecting drivers who are going someplace to users who are willing to pay for a ride. The service has basically turned into an Uber competitor though, with screened drivers now part of the service as well. It has raised a total of $332.5 million, according to CrunchBase, including its most recent $250 million round in April.
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