What the hell happened in the middle of 2009? Jerry Neumann, an early stage investor in such companies as 33across and BankSimple, couldn’t sleep last night. So he decided to play with investment data from Crunchbase, TechCrunch’s crowd-sourced, somewhat spotty record of start-up rounds. “New York City is on a roll, right? Right,” he writes. Looking at the data, New York VCs like Betaworks, the sleeper Great Oaks Venture Capital, Greycroft Partners, Hudson Ventures, DFJ Gotham, Union Square Ventures and Village Ventures doubled their efforts in early stage investing since the end of 2009 and they haven’t slowed down.
In October 2009, VCs in New York announced no early or seed-stage investments, according to the data from Crunchbase. (Keep in mind that deals often close a few months before they become public.) The month before saw fewer than five deals; it had been a really slow year, actually. But in December (probably closer to August or September), New York VCs made seed or Series A investments in 16 companies including Square, SimpleGeo, Hot Potato and Swipely. And from that point, it was on. Last month, New York VCs did more than ten public deals, including funding for Fab.com, MotherKnows, Warby Parker, DataSift and others. But Mr. Neumann has a suspicion, based on anecdotal evidence, that VCs may be slowing down their early stage investing–which won’t show up in the data for a few more months.