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U.S. VC Firms Have Raised $32 Billion So Far This Year

Venture capital is on track for its biggest year since the dot-com era.

Venture capital firms in the U.S. raised $9 billion last quarter as 2016 remains on track to be the biggest year since the dot-com era.

The cash brings the total to $32.4 billion in the first three quarters of the year, less than $5 billion shy of the amount raised in all of last year, according to a report by the National Venture Capital Association, a trade group. Among the factors driving the rush of capital, some VC firms decided to raise money earlier than usual in case economic conditions worsen, and the sizes of university endowments and pension funds—major backers of VC firms—are growing.

Despite the large amounts of cash raised, venture firms appear to be taking a more cautious tack when it comes to spending. Last quarter, venture firms deployed $15 billion to startups, the lowest amount since the first quarter of 2014. They concentrated their bets on fewer companies, with about 1,800 funded last quarter, marking the fifth straight decline in the number of companies receiving venture investment.

The National Venture Capital Association switched providers this quarter to PitchBook Data from Thomson Reuters for its regular reports, which have served as a measurement of the industry's health for almost two decades. (With that transition came some changes to the report's methodology.) Previously, the trade group had said the record year for venture fundraising was 2000, with $102 billion. It fell sharply to $38 billion the following year when the bubble burst.

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