5 of the biggest venture capital funding rounds ever

Flippa lists five record-breaking venture capital rounds from 2021 based on Crunchbase data.

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As 2024 dawns, there is hope for an improved venture capital market, which the Federal Reserve's aggressive interest rate hikes heavily impacted in the preceding two years. Many of the largest deals in venture fundraising history took place in 2021, when favorable conditions were encouraging investors.

Back then, near-zero interest rates made high-risk, high-reward tech startup investments appear even more lucrative. COVID-19 lockdowns accelerated the shift to digital lifestyles—from how we shop to how we learn—boosting the value of early-stage tech startup companies and adding fuel to the investor frenzy.

The U.S. venture capital industry saw over 17,000 deals completed, which racked up nearly $330 billion in funding in the prime year of 2021, according to the National Venture Capital Association. This amount was more than double what startups had raised in 2020 and more than 1.5 times the amount deals closed in 2022 brought in.

It was in this electrifying climate that 2021 witnessed the five biggest Series A deals in history. In the world of startups, the growth of companies typically starts with pre-seed funding, which secures the capital to get operations off the ground. This is followed by the seed round, the first official injection of funds. By the next funding stage, called Series A, startups usually have a more detailed vision for their future and can, on average, expect to raise between $2 million and $20 million from established institutional players, known as venture capital firms.

Flippa compiled a list of history's biggest venture capital funding rounds using Crunchbase data, company news releases, and other sources.

Each of these five companies far exceeded the industry averages for Series A funding, making them truly sensational. They share a common thread: innovation that perfectly fits the changing global landscape of the post-COVID world, spanning sectors from cybersecurity to online education.

#5. Transmit Security

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- Series A funding: $543M
- Funding year: 2021

Transmit Security's mission since 2014 has been to eliminate the need for passwords, specifically for business clients. The startup raised the funds to expand its geographical reach and enhance its operations in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. The bulk of the invested funds came from Insight Partners and General Atlantic.

#4. MoonPay

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- Series A funding: $555M
- Funding year: 2021

MoonPay is a crypto company that helps people buy cryptocurrencies with traditional fiat currencies. Tiger Global Management and Coatue led this funding round and is part of the startup's international expansion and team enhancement, aligning with its mission to bring cryptocurrency to 1 billion more people by 2030.

#3. Perch

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- Series A funding: $775M
- Funding year: 2021

Perch is a Boston-based e-commerce company specializing in acquiring and operating Amazon third-party and other direct-to-consumer brands. This financing deal was led by the Softbank Vision Fund 2 with additional contributions from Spark Capital and Victory Park Capital. The company, which says it has been profitable since its founding in November 2019, plans to use this investment for continued expansion, targeting new brands and extending its global reach.

#2. Sierra Space

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- Series A funding: $1.4B
- Funding year: 2021

Sierra Space is a commercial aerospace company based in the U.S. General Atlantic, Coatue, and Moore Strategic Ventures led the financing deal. The company announced the capital would go toward some of its most ambitious projects, including developing the Dream Chaser, the first-ever winged commercial spaceplane. Starting in 2024, the spacecraft is set to deliver cargo to the International Space Station under a NASA contract. Sierra Space is among the key players in the expanding commercial space sector.

#1. Articulate Global

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- Series A funding: $1.5B
- Funding year: 2021

Articulate Global is a New York-based educational startup specializing in online workplace training tools and e-learning authoring apps. General Atlantic led this investment, joined by Blackstone Growth and ICONIQ Growth.

The company said it was its first infusion of institutional capital and that the funding brought its valuation to $3.75 billion. The funds were raised to boost Articulate's growth and enable international expansion. The company aims to enhance organizational online training, with its services catering to both large enterprises and small-to-medium-sized businesses. Articulate says it serves over 100,000 corporate customers globally.

Story editing by Jeff Inglis. Copy editing by Paris Close.

This story originally appeared on Flippa and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.