In the 4th quarter of 2013, the greater Washington region received $313 million in venture capital investment. That money went to 54 different companies in the region. That ranks 9th overall in terms of investment in different areas of the country, and it accounted for 3.74% of all venture capital investments in Q4. By comparison, Silicon Valley attracted $3.22 billion in venture capital in 306 separate investments, which accounted for 38.48% of all venture investment. Closer to home, the New York metro area received $1.22 billion in 123 separate investments.
Of the 54 companies that received venture funding in the region, 10 are headquartered in the District, 23 are based in Virginia, and 21 are based in Maryland. Of the $313 million invested, $126 million, or 40.1% went to software companies. 21% went to consumer products and services companies, while 13.6% went to media and entertainment companies.
The 10 District based companies received $88.82 million of the $313 million invested in the region in Q4. They are:
- Vox Media — The online publisher received $34 million. Accel Partners, Comcast Ventures, and Khosla Ventures invested.
- Sweetgreen — The gourmet salad company received $20.4 million. Revolution Ventures was the primary investor.
- Mapbox — The developer of interactive and customizable maps received $10 million from the Foundry Group.
- REGENX Biosciences — The gene therapy company received $7.8 million from Fidelity Biosciences.
- SnagFilms — The distributor of independent films for digital platforms snagged $6.5 million from New Enterprise Associates and Revolution Ventures.
- Cleod9 Inc. — The developer of Hinge, a relationship application, received $4 million from Fortify Ventures and Oakstone Venture Partners.
- Personal Inc. — The online data platform provider received $3.5 million from Revolution Ventures.
- Ontuitive Benelux BV — The provider of performance support solutions raised $1.4 million from Edison Ventures.
- Wiser Together — The provider of web and mobile treatment decision support solutions raised $750,000 from Grotech Ventures
- Zoobean — The provider of a subscription service and direct seller of children’s books received $573,000 from an undisclosed investor.
Source: MoneyTree Report from PriceWaterHouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association
Venture capital investment in the District is considerably stronger than it was ten, even five years ago, but is it as strong as it could be? Is the District capturing its fair share of venture capital in the region? It clearly lags behind both Virginia and Maryland in terms of number of investments and dollar value, so how does the District attract more venture capital flow?
One answer is convincing more of the firms that make capital allocation decisions to station people in the District proper. Being 3,000 miles away from the premier source of venture capital funding makes it difficult to get the attention of a wider array of investors. The District needs to continue to build towards a critical mass of invest-able companies by attracting entrepreneurs and startup talent, but it has to figure out how to bring the funders to the District.
The District uses economic incentives to foster real estate development on a regular basis. It also made it clear that it was willing to fight to retain DC-founded startups like Living Social by offering a broad range of incentives. We’d like to see an incentive program designed to attract venture capital firms to the city. Until Andreesen Horiwitz, Sequoia, Greylock and Kleiner Perkins have personnel on the ground in the District, District startups will always be playing catch-up.