Massachusetts Startup Funding Slowed Way Down in October—But Early Stage Deals Gained

Xconomy Boston — 

It wasn’t just the leaves that began to fall in the Bay State in October: last month also saw a big falloff in venture deal-making. After a (relatively) spectacular September in which $228 million was pumped into 25 Massachusetts funding deals, investors only managed to shell out $169 million in 19 deals in October. It was the lowest monthly total in both deals and dollars since we began tracking the monthly totals last June ($145 million, 17 deals).

Such a big falloff might make you wonder whether thoughts of recovery are a bit premature. But also consider that at least 14 of the 19 deals were early stage—seed, Series A, or Series B. (The figure could be higher, as the stage of financing could not be determined for two deals, both of which were under $5 million, which is indicative of an earlier stage round). That compared with just 12 of 25 (also with two unspecified) in September.

The figures come courtesy of ChubbyBrain, a New York-based information services company developing tools for investors, startups, and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Three big biotech deals led the way in October. Flexion Therapeutics of Woburn, which is out to make drug development faster and less costly, took in $33 million in a Series A round. It was followed closely by Cambridge-based Epizyme, which raised $32 million in Series B funding as it seeks to develop drugs based on insights from the field of epigenetics to fight cancer and other diseases. Finally, Virdante Pharmaceuticals, also of Cambridge, garnered $30 million for its Series A round to support development of anti-inflammatory drugs.

The biggest non-biotech deal of the month was a $16 million C round for marketing technology firm HubSpot, another Cambridge denizen. Its co-founder and CTO, Dharmesh Shah, just won the Mass Technology Leadership Council’s award for Innovator of the Year. Looks like he and CEO and fellow co-founder Brian Halligan might be up for Internet fundraiser of the year as well.

Read on for a table of all the October venture deals in Massachusetts.


Other highlights from the October data:

—Healthcare was actually a bright spot last month, compared with September. Deal numbers were up slightly (7 vs. 6), but the $114.3 million raised easily topped the $98.8 million brought in during the previous month

—The Internet sector (9 deals, same as last month) led the way in deal numbers for the second straight month. But the total raised was down by roughly a third, from $62.2 million to $41.6 million.

—There were no energy or cleantech deals in the month. In fact, there have only been two energy venture deals in Massachusetts since we started doing the monthly tallies in June.

—General Catalyst Partners, which invested in HubSpot and Visible Measures, both C rounds, was the only venture firm I spotted in more than one deal in October.

October 2009 MA Venture Investments


By posting a comment, you agree to our terms and conditions.

2 responses to “Massachusetts Startup Funding Slowed Way Down in October—But Early Stage Deals Gained”

  1. If you are interested in startup funding, is a good option for business owners seeking financing and resources. Small businesses and startup entrepreneurs raise money through personal connections online (a.k.a person to person, peer to peer, social lending). This elevates access to funding, increases transparency, reduces costs, and lowers risk.

    Entrepreneurs connect with their social networks (friends, family, friends of family, community members, colleagues, alumni and others) to raise up to $99,000 in capital by requesting loans and gift contributions. Funders can get product discounts and freebies, as well as the ability to track how the funding is spent.

    Visit for more info about people funding businesses.