North Carolina Entrepreneurs Break $1 Billion Mark for Equity Funding in 2015

CED’s Innovators Report details investments in technology, life science, cleantech and advanced manufacturing and materials companies throughout North Carolina

DURHAM, NC, February 18, 2016 — The Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED), the largest and longest-running entrepreneurial network in the nation, today released its 2015 Innovators Report. The report tracks technology-based entrepreneurial activity in North Carolina.

The report for 2015 shows that 170 North Carolina entrepreneurial companies in the technology, life science, cleantech and advanced manufacturing and materials sectors collectively raised nearly $1.2 billion in funding through 191 equity investment deals. This includes venture capital, angel, corporate, growth equity and strategic investments.

View the interactive online Innovators Report here:

“2015 was a banner year for North Carolina’s entrepreneurial companies, as the numbers of deals, dollars and investors were up to their highest points of the past three years,” said CED President and CEO Joan Siefert Rose. “We’re seeing a greater number of large deals and a continuing increase in out-of-market investor engagement – both positive indicators for the health of the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Funding is up 122 percent from 2014, when companies raised nearly $533 million, and up nearly 200 percent from the $396 million raised in 2013. There were also more large deals completed in 2015, with nineteen (19) deals over $15 million – compared to five (5) deals in 2013 and six (6) deals of that size in 2014.

Looking only at venture funding, North Carolina’s total grew 93% from 2014 to 2015, compared to a 16% national growth rate — according to National Venture Capital Association data.

2015 Funding Breakdown

In 2015, 170 North Carolina entrepreneurial companies raised $1,182,353,573 through 191 equity deals. Those totals, broken out by sector, are as follows:

  • Tech: 98 companies completed 108 deals, resulting in over $516 million
  • Life Science: 52 companies completed 58 deals, netting almost $584 million
  • Advanced Manufacturing and Materials: 12 companies completed 14 deals, bringing in nearly $56 million
  • Cleantech: 8 companies completed 11 deals, raising more than $26 million

Investor Activity

North Carolina companies attracted equity investments from 146 unique institutional funders in 2015. Those investors came from a variety of geographic locations, including:

  • 51 investors coming from the Southeast, including 36 from North Carolina,
  • 34 from the Northeast,
  • and 28 from the West Coast.

The top U.S. states for investors were:

  • North Carolina, 36
  • California, 24
  • New York, 19
  • Massachusetts, 11
  • Missouri, 5
  • Texas, 5

There were 16 international investors that participated in deals. These investors are based in Belgium, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand and the United Kingdom. China and Israel led the international group with three (3) investors each.

“The success, strong teams and attractive valuation of North Carolina companies means they are receiving more and more attention from investors in California, the Northeast and outside the U.S.,” said Dhruv Patel, CED’s Director of Investor Relations. “Wins for investors in companies like Ansible, Automated Insights, Cardioxyl Pharmaceuticals, Scioderm and others bring more visibility to this region, and we can expect continued interest going forward.”


There were two IPOs in 2015: MaxPoint (MXPT) and vTv Therapeutics Inc (VTVT). Twenty-two (22) entrepreneurial companies were involved in mergers, acquisitions or buyout activity. The five largest M&A deals disclosed were:

  • Salix Pharmaceuticals, acquired by Valeant Pharmaceuticals for $11 billion
  • Sprout Pharmaceuticals, acquired by Valeant Pharmaceuticals for $1 billion
  • Scioderm, Inc., acquired by Amicus Therapeutics for $947 million
  • Bronto Software, acquired by NetSuite, Inc. for $200 million
  • Ansible, acquired by RedHat for $125 million

CED’s proprietary Innovators Report tracks data not readily available elsewhere. CED leverages its deep relationships with companies and investors, and its partnerships with organizations and sources such as the National Venture Capital Association, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers MoneyTree Report to gather, analyze and report these data. In addition to absolute numbers, the report uncovers trends in the entrepreneurial sector.

View the interactive online Innovators Report here:

Click Here to view additional 2015 Innovators Report Highlights

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