2014 was a strong year for exits of companies backed by venture capitalists. In particular, we saw a strong performance for technology companies as the value of VC tech capital exited was $57bn, up 35% compared to 2013. The roundup of the 50 top tech exits of 2014 was dominated by one particular country while the value of the capital exited differed substantially depending on whether the exit was at the start or the end of the year.
Across 2014, we noted 589 tech exits around the world, made up of 491 acquisitions, 36 initial public offerings (IPOs), and 62 buyouts. Of the 50 top tech exits of 2014, 40 were done via an acquisition (80%), which is in line with the average across exit types where acquisitions stood at 83% of the total that year.
An interesting fact though is that while the number of exits is highest in the first 2 quarters of the year, with 167 in Q1 and 171 in Q2, the value of the tech capital exited is at $8.5bn and $7.8bn, respectively. On the other hand, in the fourth quarter of the year, the number of exits stood at 123 while the total value of the capital exited was $36bn.
Even when taking into account Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp for $22bn, one of the largest venture capital backed tech exits via acquisition to date, the average value per exit that quarter still stands at $114m compared to less than $50m for each of the other three quarters of the year.
Among the 50 top tech exits of 2014, 21 of the top 25, ranked by value, are of companies that are based in the United States. On the other hand, among the bottom 25 of the top tech exits, 7 of them are of companies based outside the United States. While this means that only 22% of the top tech exits in 2014 are from other countries, those 11 exits are made up of 7 different countries, including the United Kingdom, Japan Germany, China, Israel, India, and Sweden.
2014 was a strong year for exits of venture capital backed tech companies. Can we expect more from 2015? According to this article on Forbes the answer is a resounding yes!