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US venture capital early-stage valuation trends | PitchBook

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

Please use source link at bottom of page for more interactive charts

The venture industry has continued to prove its resiliency in 2021—a year marked by outsized funds, numerous mega-deals and the soaring interest of multistage investors looking to back younger startups.

As a result, valuations of VC-backed companies are on the rise across most stages in the third quarter. Our latest US VC Valuations report takes a deep dive into startup valuations across the venture lifecycle through Q3 2021, including spotlights on sectors such as biotech, climate tech and enterprise tech.

Here’s a closer look at seven key charts that depict how startup valuations have changed amid the frenzied dealmaking of the last few quarters.


Early-stage dealmaking is undergoing an identity shift as late-stage and traditional investors increasingly bet on promising startups earlier in the venture lifecycle—boosting valuations to record levels. The median early-stage valuation has roughly doubled in the past three years and cracked the $50 million mark in Q3.


Early-stage mega-deals are more common than ever, and have pushed average valuation step-up multiples to a record 5.1 times through the third quarter.

Around 104 such mega-deals were completed by Q3—a significant jump from the previous full-year record of 61 in 2020, according to the latest edition of the PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor.


The median and average pre-money valuations for late-stage funding in Q3 2021 decreased slightly to $115 million and $736 million, respectively.

Despite the slight downturn in valuation metrics, late-stage activity has remained robust throughout the year—primarily due to high participation from non-traditional investors, elevated LP allocations for mature startups and numerous outsized deals surpassing $1 billion.


Early-stage biotech startups are commanding the highest proportion of deals compared with other stages through Q3, according to the Venture Monitor. The top quartile early-stage valuation in the sector also topped $100 million for the first time.


Valuations for early- and late-stage climate tech startups increased in Q3, but the gap between top and bottom quartile valuation was around $365 million—surpassing 2020’s record gap of $300 million.

Climate tech startups raised nearly $13 billion in VC investment globally across 203 deals in Q3 2021, up 38.3% year-over-year, according to a recent Emerging Tech Research report by PitchBook.


Enterprise tech commanded nearly half of all deal value through Q3, and median valuation step-ups for early- and late-stage startups in the sector soared to record levels.


High demand from public market investors is another factor pushing VC valuation growth to new heights. Public listing step-ups rose by 1.8 times, while the median valuation step-up for acquisitions swelled to 2.8 times, the highest increase on record.

Source: US venture capital valuation trends in seven charts | PitchBook

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