Bill Sweeney
Senior Vice President
East Coast Regional Managing Director
City National Technology Group
(617) 380-5608
Bill.Sweeney@cnb.com

boston

Venture capital funding for Boston-area companies held at a robust pace in the second quarter, thanks in part to another strong showing by the region's core biotech industry.

Also, the majority of Boston's top-10 deals last quarter were early-stage financings, a sign that VC investors in the region were finding ideas they liked among younger companies. By contrast, the biggest deals in Silicon Valley were mostly later-stage financings of older startups.

The New England capital took in $1.17 billion in VC money in the second quarter, a slight 2 percent decline from the same period in 2014, according to data firm CB Insights. The funding was spread over 94 deals, about 8 percent fewer than a year earlier.

Biotech and life sciences accounted for half of the top-10 deals in the quarter, including a $65-million Series B infusion for Cambridge, Massachusetts-basedDimension Therapeutics. The firm, founded in 2013, is working on new treatments for severe genetic disorders of the liver.

Boston's reputation as a biotech research titan continues to attract both entrepreneurs in the field as well as financiers, said Bill Sweeney, East Coast regional director for City National’s Technology Group. "They know it's a very well-developed ecosystem here," he said.

Another Cambridge firm, Unum Therapeutics, tied with Dimension for Boston's biggest VC deal in the quarter, like Dimension taking in $65 million in a Series B funding. Unum, launched just last October, is developing a single genetic cell-programming treatment to fight many kinds of cancers.

Six of Boston's 10 largest VC deals last quarter were Series B fundings, meaning second-round financings. That shows VC investors' appetite for new ideas, Sweeney noted.

One Series A funding also made the top-10 list: Spero Therapeutics, a 2-year-old firm that's developing new therapies to fight antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, got $30 million in financing.

Apart from the biotech sector, Boston's second quarter top-deals list is notable for two companies involved in new battery technologies. Vionx Energy, a North Reading, Massachusetts, firm that is developing large-scale, long-lasting energy-storage systems, raised $58 million in a private-equity deal.

Also, 24M Technologies of Cambridge took in $40 million in Series B funding. The company is working on new, less-costly lithium-ion batteries.

Although not as well-known as its biotech base, "Boston has a base of expertise in battery technology that goes back 10 or 15 years," Sweeney said.

EQUITY FINANCINGS FOR BOSTON VENTURE-BACKED COMPANIES*

  2 Q 2015 1 Q 2015 4 Q 2014 3 Q 2014 2 Q 2013 2014 Total
Number of Financing Deals 94 93 94 71 102 360
Amount Invested ($MM) $1,171.9 $1,369.4 $1,557.0 $681.1 $1,199.4 $4,385.1

TOP 10 DEALS IN BOSTON

COMPANY NAME DESCRIPTION CITY ROUND TYPE RAISED ($MM) INVESTORS
Joule Unlimited Develops a CO2-to-fuel production platform Bedford Series E $40 Flagship Ventures, Rusnano
24M Technologies Uses semisolid lithium-ion technology to develop a new, cost-effective lithium-ion battery Cambridge Series B $40 North Bridge Venture Partners, CRV
Spero Therapeutics Biopharmaceutical company developing treatments for bacterial infections Cambridge Series A $30 Atlas Venture, Partners Innovation Fund, SR One, Lundbeckfond Ventures, The Kraft Group, Merck Research Ventures Fund
Tamr Data cleaning and curation software Cambridge Series B $25.2 New Enterprise Associates, Google Ventures, Thomson Reuters, Work-Bench, MassMutual Ventures, Hewlett-Packard Ventures, SineWave Ventures
Dimension Therapeutics Gene therapy development focused on adeno-associate virus therapeutics Cambridge Series B $65 OrbiMed Advisors, New Leaf Venture Partners, Fidelity Biosciences, Jennison Associates, RA Capital Management, Rock Springs Capital, Partner Fund Management, Tourbillon Global Ventures
Unum Therapeutics Developing cancer treatment via T-cell engineering in combination with tumor-targeting antibodies Cambridge Series B $65 Atlas Venture, Novo A/S, New Leaf Venture Partners, Fidelity Biosciences, Sectoral Asset Management, Wellington Management, Jennison Associates, Sanofi-Genzyme Ventures, Sabby Capital, Brace Pharma Capital, Cowen Private Investments, Seattle Genetics
Voyager Therapeutics Gene therapy development focused on advancing the field of adeno-associate virus gene therapy Cambridge Series B $60 Brookside Capital, Wellington Management, Casdin Capital, Partner Fund Management
Vionx Energy Corp Developing grid-scale battery technology North Reading Private Equity $58.2 Starwood Energy Group, VantagePoint Capital Partners
Jounce Therapeutics Developing novel cancer immunotherapies surrounding the T cell checkpoint area Cambridge Series B $56 Redmile Group, Wellington Management, Nextech Invest, Foresite Capital Management, Casdin Capital, Pharmstandard International, Omega Fund Management, Cormorant Asset Management
Circle Internet Financial Online services for bitcoin and digital currency payments and money transfers Boston Series C $50 Oak Investment Partners, Accel Partners, Goldman Sachs, General Catalyst Partners, IDG Capital 

 

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