Tech

Tim Culpan is a technology columnist for Bloomberg Gadfly. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.

More money is flowing into Asia's startup sector, which should be a good thing.

Not since the third quarter of 2015 has funding of venture capital-backed companies in the region been so high, despite the number of deals falling from a year earlier, according to a report from CB Insights.

Deals Are Up...
The number of investments into Asian VC-backed companies rose in the first quarter
Source: CB Insights

 

Funding Is Up...
The amount of money pumped into Asian startups also climbed
Source: CB Insights

 

Average Is Up
The amount per deal hit the highest in six quarters
Source: CB Insights

But look closely, and you'll notice that proportionately less of that is going to the youngest in the field. Instead, funding rounds have increased in size.

Early Rounds Shrink
Share of funding deals for the earliest stages of startup development is falling
Source: CB Insights

Those early-stage startups that are attracting capital are getting smaller investments, while the more mature companies are getting larger amounts.

Small Stay Small
Younger startups are getting less funds
Source: CB Insights

While billion-dollar funding rounds tend attract the most headlines, anything over $50 million is a big deal and the number of these jumped to 34 in the first quarter. 

Mega Rounds Are Back
More $50 million plus deals were closed during the quarter
Source: CB Insights

It's easy to think that with all this money flowing, VCs are aggressively betting on new companies in Asia. But the conclusion from this data is that, flush with cash, investors are putting their money into companies that already have momentum and some kind of track record. They're not increasing their bets on young, untried companies.

If such a trend continues then not enough early-stage startups will make it to the more advanced phases of growth, and that will give investors fewer late-stage deals to put their money into.

So come on VCs, take a punt on the little guy.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Tim Culpan in Taipei at tculpan1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Matthew Brooker at mbrooker1@bloomberg.net