Missouri venture capital hits 15-year high, but concerns bubble up

Forty-three Missouri startups raised $257 million of venture capital in 2015, according to the National Venture Capital Association’s MoneyTree report.

That’s the state’s largest venture capital haul since 2001, and it marks a significant increase over the annual average of $70 million raised between 2003 and 2013.

“The pipeline of deals here has never been stronger,” says Rick Holton, a general partner at Cultivation Capital in St. Louis. “Everyone’s looking to the Midwest because they know they can buy into deals at an affordable price.”

However, celebration of those strong numbers is tempered by doubts about whether the boom will last.

Last year was a banner year for startup funding nationally, too. The $58.8 billion infused into early-stage companies was a 16 percent increase over 2014 and the most since 2000, during the dot-com boom.

But with 143 so-called unicorns — companies with valuations of $1 billion or more — now populating the startup landscape, many are suggesting that valuations for early-stage firms are inflated.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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