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Venture capital shrinks in Tampa-St. Pete in Q4 2019

Margie Manning




Venture capital activity in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area dropped dramatically in the fourth quarter of 2019.

There were eight deals totaling $15.4 million, according to Pitchbook-NVCA Venture Monitor. That was the fewest deals and the lowest total funding raised in any other quarter in 2019.

Still, 2019 was a strong year for venture funding in Tampa-St. Pete, with a total of 45 deals and $150.2 million in total funding, the Venture Monitor report said. In 2018, there were 39 local deals with $111.2 million in total funding.

In a break with past practices, neither Venture Monitor nor MoneyTree, a separate venture capital report from PwC and CB Insights, included a list of top local deals in their Q4 2019 reports. But MoneyTree provided the top five local deals for 2019 in response to a request from the St. Pete Catalyst.

$300 million— KnowBe4, Clearwater, Series D, Q2 2019

$50 million — KnowBe4, Clearwater, Series C, Q1 2019

$36 million — ComplianceQuest, Tampa, Series A, Q3 2019

$18 million — Peerfit, Tampa, Series C, Q1 2019

$15 million — Homee, Tampa, Series B, Q3 2019

Other eight-figure deals that the Catalyst has reported on throughout 2019 include $20 million for Actio Analytics in Tampa in Q2, $15 million for Digital Hands in Tampa in Q3 and $10 million for Bond-Pro in Tampa in Q1.

The $300 million that KKR invested in KnowBe4 propelled the cybersecurity training firm into unicorn territory – a designation for a startup technology company with a valuation of $1 billion or more.

At the end of 2019 there were 199 unicorns in the United States, up from 149 a year earlier, MoneyTree said.

Both the MoneyTree and Venture Monitor reports provide measures of investor interest 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 tags a broader array of deals.

In Florida, there were 95 deals with a total value of $1.22 billion in 2019, including 20 deals with a total value of $146 million in Q4 2019, MoneyTree said. See the full MoneyTree report here.

Venture Monitor reported 261 deals with a total value of $2.885 billion in Florida for the full year of 2019. See the full Venture Monitor report here.

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