Filled with innovation labs, co-working spaces and students, Boston has a ton of entrepreneurial characteristics baked into its DNA.
However, when the coronavirus swept through the country, the area’s startup scene was stress-tested as badly as other entrepreneurial hubs. Could Boston’s startups still thrive without the city’s robust in-person ecosystems?
But while high-level, quarterly data is useful directionally, it can gloss over illustrative dips and peaks. In 2020, things changed fast.
So, for this month’s Boston-focused column, we looked at the city’s venture capital data on a month-by-month basis to answer the question, “How did the pandemic impact deal-making in the city?”
New PitchBook data show that Boston-area startups saw a venture capital dip after March through April, two early pandemic months here in the United States. However, May and the following months more than made up for the decline. In fact, Boston-area startups raised more private capital during summer 2020 than they did in summer 2019, suggesting that the pandemic and its ensuing technological and economic changes have not hurt the area startups in aggregate, but instead provided a net boon.
Inside Boston’s turbulent venture capital summer
Let’s start with a look at the data in chart form. We asked PitchBook for a look at Boston’s venture results on a monthly basis since 2019.
Looking at private capital data for Boston-based companies, we see that December was a very strong month compared to the rest of Q4 2019, but that it was also easily bested by January. February and March were more quiet, leading us into the pandemic era. But surprisingly, April wasn’t a complete mess with more than $1 billion in funds invested. May posted a sharp improvement in dollar terms, and June was best of all months in the year so far.