CrunchBase Reveals: The Average Successful Startup Raises $41M, Exits at $242.9M

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Mark Lennon.

The CrunchBase dataset has now captured more venture exits than ever, so we decided to take a closer look at what successful startups can tell us about venture investing and the startup landscape.

We found that the average successful US startup has raised $41 million and exited at $242.9 million. We also found that there is a strong correlation between larger exits and companies that raised more money, but no such relationship between the amount of time between founding a company and being acquired or taken public.

Between the two types of exits, we found that the average successfully acquired U.S. startup has raised $29.4 million and sold for $155.5 million, for investor profits of about 7.5x (if you assume 100 percent investor ownership of the company, which is never the case). Startups that went public in an IPO raised significantly more funds, but also took substantially more venture funding, and thus more dilution.

The average IPO-bound startup raised $162 million before going public. Thanks to a few recent large IPOs, the average raised amount soared to $467.9 million, for a 2.9x investor return (of course, venture investors will never sell all their shares on the IPO date).

The analysis includes all funded startups in CrunchBase that had an exit since 2007. As with most analysis dealing with startups and venture investing, it’s worth noting that some company information from CrunchBase may be incomplete or inaccurate, even if it’s the largest free source for startup information in the world.

Facebook both took the most pre-IPO money, $2.3 billion, and raised the most through going public at an estimated $18.4 billion. Twitter raised an estimated $1.8 billion in their IPO, but also took almost $1.2 billion from venture investors before going public. Mouse over the dots below for more details.

Company age did not seem to factor into a successful exit. Acquired companies were an average of seven years old, while IPO companies went public around 8.25 years, on average. However, there was no clear trend between age and the value of either type of exit.

The venture investors with the most successful exits were led by SV Angel, one of the most active investors in the last few years, along with perennial heavyweights Sequoia Capital, Intel Capital, Accel Partners and Benchmark.

We compared our dataset to CB Insights Venture Capital Data Comparison. Not seen below is that CrunchBase has since captured 255 additional exits through Q3 and Q4 and continues to add more data points every day.

To follow the trends with startups and investors, use the latest CrunchBase data set to take a look for yourself. Download the November 2013 Data Export and let us know what you find.

  • Originally published December 16, 2013, updated April 26, 2023