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Pitchbook reveals which VC industry verticals posted the biggest valuation leaps in 2021

Posted by Tasnim Ahmed

January 10, 2022    |     3-minute read (462 words)

The world became even more unpredictable in 2021, but it also saw venture capital funding levels that broke records across the board. VC investment almost doubled last year compared to 2020, which was already the second-biggest year on record in terms of startup investment, according to Crunchbase.

Based on PitchBook statistics, the eight verticals with the highest valuation jumps in 2021 were:

Vertical Valuation step-up in 2021
Crypto/blockchain 259%
Cybersecurity 259%
Fintech 253%
SaaS 244%
AI/machine learning 235%
Ecommerce 231%
Mobility tech 206%
Digital health 196%


A look at each of the verticals

Crypto/blockchain – This sector’s biggest gains were made by heavy hitters such as Coinbase, OpenSea, Element Finance and CoinList, which had great runs thanks to a robust and bullish VC push. Digital asset marketplace operator OpenSea alone was valued at $1.5 billion in July 2021 in its Series B round led by Andreessen Horowitz, more than 19 times its previous valuation.

Cybersecurity – Investments into cybersecurity blew up in 2021, owing to a slew of very high-profile ransomware attacks. Beneficiaries included cybersecurity startups such as Horizon3.ai and Lacework, whose valuations increased by tenfold and fifteenfold, respectively.

Fintech – Startups in the fintech arena saw a bull run, with Stripe reaching a valuation of $95 billion, Klarna reaching $31 billion and Kraken gunning for a $10 billion valuation, all representing massive increases over the last year or so. 

SaaS – The software as a service sector also saw plenty of advancement in 2021. Companies like Snowflake, Unity Software and CrowdStrike Holdings were big winners in terms of valuation leaps.

AI/machine learning – Top winners in this segment included AMP Robotics, an up-and-coming company touted to reach new heights but whose current valuation is unknown, which garnered $55 million in its last investment round. Fellow newcomer Arize AI, founded by ex-employees of Uber and TubeMogul, saw funding of $5.3 million to reach a valuation of $16 million.

Ecommerce – With the new normal ensuring that movement is still restricted, ecommerce shows no signs of slowing. Leading the pack is Amazon, whose market valuation reached $1.634 trillion. Next is China’s Alibaba, with a market valuation of $648.32 billion. Walmart and Home Depot are third and fourth, with valuation of $407.84 billion and $285.97 billion, respectively.

Mobility tech – Elon Musk’s SpaceX skyrocketed to the front of the mobility tech Industry. Other standouts include Akash Systems, which aims to make the internet universal, and AI-powered fleet management system Avrios.

Digital health – Although this sector came in last in the vertical step-up rankings, it garnered unparalleled interest from investors. Weight app Noom reached a valuation of $4.24 billion, a jump of 1,100%, while Reify Health’s valuation catapulted 1,240% to reach $2.2 billion.

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