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Big Deals Drive Jump in 2014 VC Investment in Colorado

Xconomy Boulder/Denver — 

Venture capital investors pumped more cash into tech and life sciences companies across the country in 2014 than they have in years, with a handful of companies such as Uber and Snapchat leading the way by closing “megadeals.” In Colorado, the same trend held, albeit on a smaller scale.

Tech companies in the state scored $793 million from VCs, which is the most since 2008. Leading the way were companies like SolidFire, Cool Planet Energy Systems, and Sympoz (aka Craftsy), which raised expansion-stage rounds nearing $50 million or more. Maybe those aren’t quite megadeals, but they are really large by local standards.

In Colorado, the amount raised in 2014 in 86 deals is up more than 70 percent from the $464.5 million raised in 83 deals in 2013, which was a relatively quiet year. The quarterly total also jumped, with $342.2 million raised in the fourth quarter of 2014, more than triple the $99.5 million raised in the last three months of 2013. The data comes from the National Venture Capital Association’s MoneyTree report, compiled with help from PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Thomson Reuters.

Nationally, $48.3 billion was invested in 4,356 deals in 2014, an increase of 61 percent from the total dollars invested in 2013, according to MoneyTree.

In Colorado, the top four deals in the quarter belonged to SolidFire ($60 million), Sympoz ($49.8 million), N30 Pharmaceuticals, and Minute Key, which both raised $30 million. Minute Key is a company in Boulder that makes self-serve automated kiosks that duplicate keys.

Door to Door Organics rounded out the top five. The Louisville-based online grocery shopping and delivery startup raised $25.7 million.

SolidFire’s deal was also the biggest in the year, followed by Cool Planet Energy, a biofuels company based in Greenwood Village that raised $50.7 million. Sympoz was third in the year, followed by the $45.5 million raised by Datalogix, which recently was bought by Oracle. Cologix, a Denver-based data center builder and operator, took fifth place, raising $36.6 million.