Venture capitalists invested about $3.4 million in five Maine companies during the second quarter of 2016, according to a new national report.
The company closing the largest deal during the second quarter was Maine Craft Distilling in Portland, which raised $1.144 million from the Maine Venture Fund and other undisclosed firms, according to the MoneyTree Report, a quarterly tally of venture capital funding compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association based on data from Thomson Reuters.
The other companies closing investment rounds that quarter were: Mingle Analytics, in South Paris, which raised $800,000 from MVF and other undisclosed firms towards its goal of developing analytics software for physicians offices; Pika Energy in Westbrook raised $641,000 from CEI Ventures and other undisclosed firms; Ocean Approved, which grows and processes kelp, raised $500,000 from MVF and other undisclosed firms; and Orono Spectral Solutions, a tech company in Bangor that develops chemical sampling products, raised $307,000 from MVF and other undisclosed firms.
Though it doesn’t sound like much, five deals in a single quarter is a relatively large amount for Maine. During the first quarter of 2015, Maine companies closed six VC deals, but after that you have to go all the way back to the first quarter of 2000 to find five deals in a single quarter.
Maine’s $3.4 million represents a tiny fraction of the more than $1 billion venture capitalists invested in New England companies during the second quarter of 2016. The largest deal closed in New England was a $100 million later-stage investment in Boston-based biotech firm Ginkgo BioWorks.
Across the country, venture capitalists invested $15.3 billion in 961 deals in the second quarter of 2016, including the largest single investment of all time, a $3.5 billion investment by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, according to the MoneyTree report. The national trend over the past year is that more money is being invested in fewer companies. For example, the top 10 deals in the second quarter accounted for 40 percent of the quarter’s total investment.
“The second quarter data confirms what we’ve heard anecdotally from our members, which is that venture investors remain active through a string of strong fundraising periods but are becoming more selective in where they deploy capital,” Bobby Frankling, president and CEO of the NVCA, said in a statement.
While at the national level, the amount venture capitalists invest per quarter can be useful to tease out trends, the amount of VC per quarter in a state like Maine, which has a relatively small number of deals, is notoriously irregular and one-to-one comparisons are not very useful. For example, the second quarter’s $3.4 million represents a 1,596 percent increase from the $200,000 raised in a single deal during the second quarter of 2015, but a 79 percent decrease from the $16 million raised over four deals during the second quarter of 2014.
The following chart shows the quarterly total amount of VC funding Maine companies raised (left vertical axis, yellow bars) and the total number of deals that yielded that total (right vertical axis, blue bars) between 2010 and the most recent quarter.