The Tampa-St. Pete metro area just had its best quarter in more than two decades for venture capital funding, according to the MoneyTree report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and CB Insights.
Five local companies raised $317 million in the second quarter of 2019, the report said. That was the largest total deal value for a single quarter since 1995, when MoneyTree began tracking venture funding.
A single deal – a $300 million investment in Clearwater cybersecurity training firm KnowBe4 — dominated the local capital raises.
MoneyTree is one of two quarterly reports that track investments in startups, companies that hold promise for creating high-skill, high-wage jobs that can transform the economy. MoneyTree counts only actual dollars invested in a quarter, while Venture Monitor, a collaboration between PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association, uses different criteria and tags a broader array of deals.
The KnowBe4 investment was led by KKR, Elephant Venture Capital and Ten Eleven Ventures. The deal elevated KnowBe4 to unicorn status, with a valuation of more than $1 billion.
The KnowBe4 deal also was the largest venture capital investment in Florida in the three months ended June 30, MoneyTree said.
Other Q2 2019 local deals in the MoneyTree report are:
• Aspen Health, a Tampa pharmaceutical business, raised $6 million from Flare Capital Partners.
• TrashButler, a Tampa recycling firm, raised $5 million from Florida Funders and other undisclosed investors.
• Intrinio, a St. Petersburg financial software company, raised $5 million from Bascom Ventures, Engage Venture, Nyca Partners and Village Capital.
• TSO Life, a Tampa tech company with a platform that allows seniors to create personal legacies, raised $1.12 million from Deepwork Capital.
Nationally, there were 1,409 transactions in Q2 2019, raising $29 billion, the MoneyTree report said. Venture capital funding in the U.S. is on track to reach record levels this year, the report said.
The Venture Monitor report, released last week, said 12 Tampa-St. Pete companies raised nearly $47 million in venture capital funding during Q2 2019.