Startup winter did not officially arrive in 2019. While the fourth quarter still has a couple chilly days left, totals for the year to date show pretty robust venture funding levels for U.S. and other regions, offset by declines in China. A few sectors in particular did especially well.
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But not every industry had a great year. A Crunchbase News analysis shows a number of major categories – including hardware, blockchain, delivery and electric vehicles — that are poised to show big year-over-year declines.
Below, we look at what the numbers reveal about these out-of-vogue sectors.
Hardware investment showed a decline in 2019, as U.S. investors increasingly backed away from big rounds for startups developing consumer electronics, networking hardware, and other devices.
Per preliminary Crunchbase data1, U.S. hardware raised $1.97 billion in seed through late stage venture funding rounds in 2019. Direct year-over-year comparisons aren’t entirely fair at this point in the year, given that many rounds get reported late. Still, it’s hard to see much chance we’ll catch up to the 2018 total of $3.46 billion.
One of the big reasons hardware funding is down is that there were fewer supergiant funding rounds in the category this year. Just two companies raised known rounds of $100 million or more: Fungible, a maker of hardware and software platforms for data centers, and Kinestral Technologies, a developer of adaptive, kinetic glass.
It should also be noted that the hardware category does not include a lot of robotics and autonomous driving deals. If we factored in funding rounds for startups such as Nuro, a developer of autonomous robotic vehicles that raised $940 million in February, the 2019 totals would be much higher.
Crypto And Blockchain
While the price of bitcoin has recovered from lows hit a year ago, dealmaking activity for crypto and blockchain has not followed suit.
Crunchbase data shows…