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Venture capital investing sounds a retreat from U.S. and Tampa Bay startups, say 2016 data

PikMyKid founder Pat Bhava counts pick up spaces during a June 16, 2016, tour of Wiregrass Elementary School. PikMyKid, which uses dismissal software, is vying for venture capital funding.
[ANDRES LEIVA  |   Times]

PikMyKid founder Pat Bhava counts pick up spaces during a June 16, 2016, tour of Wiregrass Elementary School. PikMyKid, which uses dismissal software, is vying for venture capital funding. [ANDRES LEIVA | Times]

The venture capital industry staged a sharp national pullback in its investments to business startups in the last quarter of 2016, with last year overall posting a decline from VC investing in 2015.

In Florida, 2016 was a solid year for venture capital with $1.2 billion of investments in startups. That sum, the best since 2001 in Florida, was inflated by a single $793.5 million investment in a South Florida company called Magic Leap. Otherwise, the remaining $406 million or so was spread among all the remaining Florida VC deals in the state for the year.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, no significant VC deals were reported for Tampa Bay area startups by the PwC/CB Insights MoneyTree Report, which tracks venture capital investing nationwide. For all of 2016, Tampa Bay saw VC deals amounting to $47.7 million, including $30 million in funding earlier in the year for Tampa cybersecurity firm ReliaQuest.

Tampa Bay's biggest year of VC funding of area startups of the past 20-plus years was in 2000 when nearly $548 million was committed. That's 11 times what was invested in this metro area in 2016.

At PwC, U.S. venture capital leader Tom Ciccolella defended new opportunities for investing, despite the drop in VC activity. "It's these opportunities, despite the decline, that continue to drive venture capital momentum," he stated.

Nationwide, Internet companies saw a 26 percent drop in funding in the quarter but still attracted the most venture capital. The smaller artificial intelligence sector saw fresh interest and a strong upswing in money. Cybersecurity, despite all of its attention in the media, suffered a decline in VC backing, as did auto technology.

Statewide, the fourth quarter saw ten larger VC deals with Florida startups based in South Florida and the greater Orlando area. Miami's CareCloud, an electronic healthcare and medical benefits startup, led all VC funding with $31.5 million raised among seven venture capital firms.

Contact Robert Trigaux at rtrigaux@tampabay.com. Follow @venturetampabay.

Four area firms to vie for venture capital help

Four Tampa Bay area startups are among 20 pre-selected Florida startups that will make their pitch for venture capital backing at the upcoming Florida Venture Forum gathering on Feb. 2-3 in Orlando. The four include:

• Happy Grasshopper, Safety Harbor: Service combines marketing automation and professional copywriting for sales people.

• Mize, Tampa: Helps manufacturers retain customers.

• PikMyKid, Tampa: Helps simplify student dismissal/traffic pick-up process in K-12 schools.

• That's Us Technologies, Tampa: Digital marketing for auto dealerships.

The Florida Venture Forum is a statewide group that helps link entrepreneurs with venture capital investors.

Venture capital investing sounds a retreat from U.S. and Tampa Bay startups, say 2016 data 01/11/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 2:46pm]
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