The startup industry is endlessly fascinated with big financing rounds, but they do not always translate into the biggest returns, as illustrated by data assembled for StrictlyVC today by CB Insights.
The list below features the largest financings of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and, to date, of 2014, though you could easily mistake it for a list of companies that have suffered the highest-profile implosions in recent years.
Better Place, a start-up that hoped to create vast networks of charge spots to power electric cars, raised $350 million in 2010. In 2013, it filed for bankruptcy.
LivingSocial, the daily deals site, raised $183 million in 2010 and another $400 million in 2011. The troubled company has yet to reach profitability.
Fisker Automotive, the electric car company, raised $392.1 million in 2012. It declared bankruptcy in 2013.
The solar power company BrightSource, which raised $176 million in 2010, also appears to be struggling financially. As the WSJ reported in September, its Ivanpah solar thermal electricity project, which is the world’s largest of its kind, had to apply for a federal grant in September — to pay off its federal loan.
Whether or not you consider the deals service Groupon (which raised $950 million in 2012) or game maker Zynga ($480 million in 2012) a success or failure likely depends on when you happened to invest in them. But both companies have also failed to live up to expectations.
(Click chart to enlarge.)