Israeli startups raised a total of $1.55 billion in the first quarter of 2019 across 128 deals, according to a new report published Tuesday by Tel Aviv-based market research firm IVC Research Center Ltd. and law firm Zysman Aharoni Gayer & Co. (ZAG/S&W). The sum represents a 28 percent increase compared to the first quarter of 2018, spread across 15 percent more deals. Venture capital players accounted for 71 deals and $1.3 billion of the total sum raised.
Compared with the fourth quarter of 2018, this quarter’s total deal number fell 25 percent, mostly due to a decrease in seed and series A rounds. The median amount of these early rounds increased, while mid and late rounds continued the uptrend seen since 2016, with series C rounds attracting the most capital of all rounds, $476 million in total. Deals of over $20 million accounted for 64 percent of total investments raised.
Sixteen percent of all capital raised in the quarter is attributed to two deals: LiDAR startup Innoviz Technologies Ltd., which closed a $132 million round in March, and networking software startup Drivenets Ltd., which emerged from stealth with $110 million in February.
Three other deals that surpassed the $50 million mark accounted for 10 percent of the total funding raised. Database software developer Redis Labs Inc. raised $60 million in February. Cybersecurity company Cato Networks Ltd. raised $55 million in January. Datacenter software company Lightbits Labs Ltd. emerged from stealth in March with $50 million.
The two strongest sectors in terms of investment were software, which captured 42 percent of all capital raised in the quarter, and life sciences, which accounted for 17 percent.