Colorado ac­tiv­ity heats up

Fig­ures in­clude $161M from a Chi­nese in­vestor.

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Ta­mara Chuang

Colorado com­pa­nies con­tin­ued to see a very ac­tive ven­ture-cap­i­tal en­vi­ron­ment with the state hav­ing its best first-half pe­riod since 2001, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est MoneyTree Re­port from PwC and CB In­sights, out Wed­nes­day.

But a big boost ac­tu­ally came in the first quar­ter, with a pre­vi­ously over­looked $161 mil­lion eq­uity investment into Boul­der health­care com­pany So­maLogic.

The eq­uity investment in So­maLogic by China’s iCar­bonX oc­curred in Jan­uary and was later con­firmed by the com­pany in May. So­maLogic, which de­vel­oped a new way to mea­sure pro­teins to help mon­i­tor a per­son’s health, did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

PwC ad­justed its ear­lier first-quar­ter re­port to show Colorado ended first quar­ter with 45 deals and $515.3 mil­lion, the state’s most lu­cra­tive quar­ter since third quar­ter 2012.

Dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter, which ended June 30, ven­ture cap­i­tal found its way to fewer Colorado com­pa­nies — 31 for a to­tal of $170 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to PwC. Top deals, ac­cord­ing to PwC, in­cluded Boul­der ro­botic toy maker Sphero, which raised $35.4 mil­lion; Den­ver cy­ber­se­cu­rity firm Cy­berGRX, at $20 mil­lion; and $13 mil­lion for SyncHR; a Den­ver devel­oper of hu­man re­sources soft­ware.

Com­bined, the first two quar­ters had 76 Colorado com­pa­nies at­tract­ing $685.3 mil­lion in fund­ing, nearly the same amount for the en­tire 2016, which pulled in $688.8 mil­lion.

“For the first two quar­ters of 2017, ven­ture cap­i­tal in­vest­ing in Colorado com­pa­nies nearly out­paced the in­vest­ing lev­els of all of 2016,” said Rob Ward, a PwC part­ner. “Colorado saw a ‘megaround’ deal dur­ing the first half of 2017 which it hasn’t seen in sev­eral years. We con­tinue to see strength in the in­ter­est in Colorado com­pa­nies and their in­no­va­tion; in­clud­ing cy­ber se­cu­rity, ro­bot­ics and mixed re­al­ity to name a few.”

Na­tion­wide, ven­ture deals jumped 28 per­cent to $18.4 bil­lion, com­pared to the first quar­ter, thanks to 31 “mega-rounds” of $100 mil­lion or more. The num­ber of deals, how­ever, dropped 4 per­cent to 1,152 since the first quar­ter.

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