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$1 billion went to 154 Colorado companies in 2017 — a record year for venture investments

Ethical dilemmas, retail inventory and robots and other tech were prime attractions, according to 2017 PwC/CB Insights report.

Investors dropped more than $1 billion into Colorado companies in 2017, making it the state’s biggest year for venture funding since 2001, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and CB Insights.

Ethical dilemmas, retail inventory and robots were prime attractions that encouraged investors to drop nearly $200 million in the fourth quarter alone. The top companies revolved around technology: Convercent raised $25 million to continue building software to help employees keep track of rules; GoSpotCheck added $21.5 million to help workers in the field better track inventory and other data; and Canvas Technology in Boulder added $15 million for its robotic cart.

Also, JumpCloud, a software developer in Boulder, added $20 million.

“Total investments in Colorado for the annual 2017 period eclipsed $1 billion. We have to go back to the early 2000s to find a higher annual funding level,” said Rob Ward, a PwC analyst in Denver in his review of the year.  “The continued stability in funding levels creates opportunities for Colorado companies to grow and develop in Colorado, which in turn naturally creates opportunities for growth or for exits via a sale, merger or an initial public offering.”

According to PwC research, Colorado had 154 deals, raising about $1.1 billion in 2017, up from 150 deals and $688.9 million in the prior year. But in 2016, venture fundinghit its lowest point in Colorado in six years, which Ward attributed to normalizing investing after a few big breakout years.

Colorado, which ranked fifth nationwide for deal volume and 10th for dollars in the fourth quarter, also fared well in an update from PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association. The Denver metro area saw 155 deals raise $822.7 million in 2017, compared with 130 deals and $554 million a year earlier.

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