Despite Tesla-led hype, private investment in EV startups appears steady

Based on the figures, I'm a little bullish

Earlier today, news broke that Xpeng, a China-based electric vehicle company has raised $500 million, adding to its 2019-era $400 million Series C. The round, a Series C+ investment, brings the company’s capital raised to date to around $2.2 billion.

Xpeng’s huge fundraise comes on the heels of a recent boom in the value of some public EV companies, including Tesla, Nio and Nikola. Speculation into the future value (and therefore present-day worth) of EV companies has led to their ranking on lists of most-popular stocks with some retail investors, underscoring their popularity.

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You might anticipate that the public-market enthusiasm is helping drive outsized private investment into global EV startups. After all, it’s often true that public market activity has an impact on private market enterprise; if shares of a particular industry rise sharply, the value of their private cognates can similarly rise, and investment in the sector can pick up tempo.

Upon reading about the Xpeng round this morning, that the event was likely part-and-parcel of rising deal volume for private EV companies was our first hunch. In honor of scratching our own itches with data whenever possible, TechCrunch decided to dig and find out.

So, is public market optimism in EV companies driving more investment into private EV companies?

What the data say

To test whether EV investment is rising or falling amongst private companies, The Exchange ran a range of queries today against Crunchbase data, looking at rounds for companies marked as “electric vehicle” firms in its data, discounting crowdfunding, secondary market activity, all post-IPO rounds and any other nonequity rounds.

Here’s what we found:

  • 2020: $3.61 billion from 63 rounds [query].
  • 2019: $6.98 billion from 151 rounds [query].