Venture capital deals hit 15-year high


Venture capital investments rose to their highest level in nearly 15 years during the second quarter, with the majority of funding going to software and media/entertainment companies, according to a report released Friday.

Venture capitalists poured $17.5 billion into investments during the quarter-the highest since the fourth quarter of 2000 when VC investments totaled $21.97 billion, according to the most recent MoneyTree report from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The photo messaging start-up Snapchat led the way on the software side of things, raising $537.6 million in VC funding during the quarter. HR software developer Zenefits Insurance Services was the second largest, with a total of about $500 million.

Airbnb, the online marketplace, received the most funding across the board: $1.5 billion. That, coupled with the $186 million in funding Pinterest collected, put the media/entertainment industry in second place in terms of dollars invested.

Zenefits confirmed the funding amount and said it plans to use it toward rolling out new products and features.

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Airbnb, Snapchat and Pinterest did not respond to CNBC's requests for comment.

"With software companies continuing to disrupt entrenched industries and in some cases creating new industries all together, venture investment into the sector increased 30 percent from the first quarter to $7.3 billion," Bobby Franklin, CEO of the National Venture Capital Association, said in a statement.

"As valuations increase and more and more companies choose to stay private longer, we are likely to see software's share of total venture investment continue to rise."

Franklin said the increase was partially driven by more nontraditional investors joining funding rounds.

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Tom Ciccolella, U.S. venture capital leader at PwC, said he doesn't see too many similarities between the VC market now and the one back in 2000.

"You had a lot of deals going into the system at sizable valuations in the 2000-era," Ciccolella said, adding that megadeals are driving a good chunk of the dollar growth in VC today.

The software industry raked in more VC funding during the second quarter than in any time in the report's 20-year history. Ciccolella said software investments have led for 23 quarters straight.

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"Software companies are easier to get up and running and easier to scale in comparison to other industries that are a bit more capital intensive," Ciccolella said. "Companies are generating significant revenue and changing and disrupting entire industries ... they are changing the way people interact with different industries."

Given the current pace of investing, venture capital in 2015 is on track to well exceed the $50 billion invested in all of 2014, he said.

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