Senior Vice President
East Coast Regional Managing Director
City National Technology Group
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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