Venture funding reached new heights in 2021, says Crunchbase

6 Jan 2022

Image: © Nuthawat/

Late-stage and tech growth companies saw the most funding last year, while overall investments were up by 92pc.

Venture funding in 2021 broke records across the board, according to new data from Crunchbase.

It revealed that global VC funding reached $643bn last year, up from $335bn in 2020. This represents 92pc year-on-year growth , while investment over the past decade has increased 10-fold. In 2012, less than $59bn in venture capital was invested globally.

Breaking down the numbers from 2021, Crunchbase said that $29.4bn went into seed funding, $201bn was invested in early-stage funding, and $413bn in late-stage funding.

There was strong growth when it came to investment in the financial services sector and Latin America-based start-ups, in particular, and there was a sharp rise in the number of unicorn start-ups valued at more than $1bn.

In 2021, the financial services sector experienced the greatest year-over-year growth in VC funding, followed by healthcare, e-commerce and transportation.

Nearly $19.6bn was invested in Latin America’s start-ups, marking it out as the fasted growing region. While vast sums of capital were invested in start-ups in Europe ($116bn) and the US ($330bn) last year, funding in Latin America increased by 300pc. Asia experienced the least amount of year-on-year growth at only 50pc and its funding figure for 2021 was $165bn.

There were 586 new entrants to Crunchbase’s Unicorn Board, up from 167 additions in 2020. There are now more than 1,100 global unicorns on the board, collectively valued at $3.8trn.

Late-stage and tech growth companies received the most funding in 2021, consistent with other years. Crunchbase data showed that $413bn in global venture funding was raised at Series C stage or later, and 1,000 more start-ups raised funding at these stages last year than in 2020. Around two-thirds of this funding went into more than 3,000 unique companies globally at Series C and beyond.

Around $201bn was invested in 8,000 early-stage companies last year, compared to $101bn in 2020.

While Crunchbase said that funding data from companies at the seed stage is not as accurate as other segments, it found that seed funding grew 56pc year over year and totalled $29.4bn in 2021.

It was a strong year for tech, in Europe and elsewhere. Big Tech companies also experienced boosts in their value in 2021, with Apple adding $1trn to its valuation while Alphabet and Amazon added almost $1trn.

Crunchbase CEO Jager McConnell recently spoke to about the start-up sectors that are booming right now, and highlighted the “staggering” lack of investment in women and black entrepreneurs.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.