Maryland companies draw $451 million in venture capital

Venture capitalists invested $451 million in Md. companies in the last three months of 2015.

Venture capitalists invested a whopping $451 million in Maryland companies in the last three months of 2015, the largest quarterly amount in the state in 15 years.

The surge in funding followed a larger national trend, according to the report released Friday by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, which uses data from Thomson Reuters. Venture capitalists invested $58.8 billion across the United States in 2015, the second-highest yearly total in the last 20 years.

Columbia-based Tenable Network Security netted $250 million in venture capital in the fourth quarter, one of the biggest such deals in the country. The investors were Accel Partners & Co. and Insight Venture Partners, according to the report.

Tenable monitors Fortune 500 and government networks for hacking threats, as the demand and need for cybersecurity grows.

Maryland ranked sixth nationally for the dollar amount of deals and 13th nationally for the number of deals, said Brad Phillips, the director of emerging company services at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"The most obvious reason was the historically large deal that Tenable Network Security landed," he said. "But even if you take that deal away, the dollars invested in the region would have gone up 6.6 percent, so it would have been a good year for us regardless."

Phillips said "megadeals" — or investments over $100 million — were much more common in 2015 across the country.

"Even as the number of deals dropped slightly by 1 percent, we saw larger than average deals across the country," he said. "If we had to put a stamp on 2015 nationally, we would say it was the year of the megadeal."

There were 71 deals in Maryland in 2015, compared to 88 in 2014 and 80 in 2013.

Other significant deals in Maryland included $75 million invested in Bethesda biotech firm Precision for Medicine Inc. by TPG Growth and a $25 million investment in Fulton-based IronNet Cybersecurity Inc.

Baltimore-based ZeroFOX, which helps companies monitor social media threats from inside and outside the firm, got more than $22 million from investors including Silicon Valley Bancventures LP, Core Capital Partners and Comcast Ventures.

Other Baltimore companies that saw large investments were digital health company WellDoc, which got about $21 million, and biotech firm Personal Genome Diagnostics, which received about $20.5 million.

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