At the end of 2009, I summarized the fundraising atmosphere for venture capital raising funds that invest in the life sciences. Now data is out for VC as a whole:
“2009 can officially go on record as the lousiest year since 1993 (in terms of number of funds raised) or 2003 (in terms of dollars committed).”
So how did my sub-set of funds that at least partially invest in the life sciences compare with the entire group?
In 2009, there were 112 VC funds that successfully raised funds and closed. This represents a decrease of nearly 50 percent from 2008. Within the smaller set of funds that focus on the life sciences in my database, 41 funds closed in 2009 — barely down from 42 in 2008. Even taking into account the fact that we are using potentially different data sets, it is striking to me how much better life science-focused funds fared compared with the larger group.
In terms of total dollars raised, the numbers are similarly striking. In 2009, the 112 funds raised $15.2 billion (not surprisingly, just over half of the 2008 total). For life science-focused funds, the amount raised was just under $10 billion in 2009, a decrease of only 5 percent from 2008. The real surprise for me is that these 41 funds represent just over one-third of the number of funds, but two-thirds of the amount of dollars raised. Clearly, general partners feel that there are some good investments in the life sciences and the LPs who are investing in them agree.