Startup deal shift to Boston picked up pace in Q1

Map from the Boston TechScene project showing tech startups in the City of Boston (
Map from the Boston TechScene project showing tech startups in the City of Boston (

The City of Boston saw 32 venture capital deals for startups during the first quarter of the year, a higher number than any quarter during Boston’s breakout year of 2013, according to data released Thursday by CB Insights.

Last year, Boston surpassed Cambridge for the first time as the top city for startup deals in Massachusetts, as startups flocked to Boston for its lower rents, better public transit, and restaurant amenities. Neighborhoods such as the Leather District, the Financial District, and Downtown Crossing have become more popular among startups, in addition to the South Boston Innovation District.

The results from the first quarter suggest that the concentration of startups in Boston proper is only accelerating, with Boston nearly doubling Cambridge’s 17 deals for the quarter.

Boston also took a larger share of the Bay State’s VC deals overall in the first quarter than in 2013; the city had 36 of all Massachusetts deals during the quarter, compared to 31 percent last year.

However, in terms of venture funding, Boston companies raised $204 million during the quarter, below the $260 million raised by Cambridge companies. Many of the Boston companies are early-stage tech firms that end up raising modest-sized rounds, while Cambridge includes many health care-related companies who often raise larger rounds of funding.

Overall, venture funding in Massachusetts dropped slightly during the first quarter compared to the prior quarter, though it was still a higher sum than any other quarter for the state in 2013. Massachusetts companies raised $899 million across 88 deals during the first quarter of the year, according to CB Insights.

Top deals of the quarter included Actifio of Waltham ($100 million), Voyager Therapeutics of Cambridge ($45 million), and uTest of Framingham ($43 million). The $157 million funding deal for Boston-based Wayfair was not included by CB Insights, presumably because the deal was not predominantly from venture capital investors.

Top venture deals for Boston companies during the quarter included Mendix ($25 million), Circle ($17 million), and Localytics ($16 million).

Read more: Boston suddenly finds itself the state’s tech startup capital

Kyle Alspach has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since 2005 and was one of the original staff writers at BetaBoston.
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