It’s raining cash in Silicon Valley again. According to data released on Jan. 15 by Dow Jones VentureSource, venture-capital investment in the U.S. reached $51.12 billion in 2014, a 47% jump from the previous year. That’s the highest level since 2000, during the peak of the first dotcom boom.
To be sure, a lot of money is funneling into mature startups whose names are familiar to many. Last year, for example, messaging app SnapChat raised $458.6 million, and ride-sharing service Uber brought in $1.2 billion–twice. In 2014 there were 47 such megadeals, according to Mark McCaffrey, an analyst with professional-services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers–nearly triple the number in 2013.
Still, venture capitalists are famous for obsessing over the next disruptive business idea or technological innovation. And that means young firms are benefiting from the money boom too. “More capital has been available than in over a decade,” explains Rory Eakin, founder of CircleUp, a startup that helps other startups find early-stage investors online. Venture capitalists are also increasingly competing with hedge funds and mutual funds for a piece of newer outfits, notes McCaffrey. Data from Dow Jones show which areas investors are betting will heat up next. Here’s a closer look.
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FINANCE FOR ALL
The biggest slice of 2014 venture funding, some $13.7 billion, went to companies attempting to upend the way people save or invest. Of particular interest: millennials and their money. Robinhood, a no-fee stock-trading app aimed squarely at the young, raised $13 million. (Investors include actor Jared Leto and rapper Snoop Dogg.) Acorns, which pools users’ loose change into tiny investments, raised $8.3 million.
Hardwaremakers, always a popular crowd in Silicon Valley, brought in $12.3 billion. Last year, investors seemed enamored of devices that make consumers’ lives simpler and healthier. Tile, a Bluetooth-enabled card that helps you locate missing keys with your smartphone, for instance, raised $13 million. And OMsignal, a Canadian company that puts fitness-tracking tech into clothing, received $10 million in funding.
APPS FOR ANYTHING
Driven by the ubiquity of smartphones, appmakers hauled in $11.9 billion to change everything from the way you kit out your house to how you make dinner. Car-sharing service Getaround got a round of $24 million. Casper, an innovative mattress company, nabbed $13.1 million. And Plated, which prepares and delivers ingredients to aspiring home chefs, raised nearly $22 million.
This appears in the February 02, 2015 issue of TIME.