13 Top Startup Industries with the Most Exits in 2014

March 20, 2015

8:00 am

If you’re a startup in advertising, analytics, or health care, you’re in luck – these are the top startup industries with the most acquisitions in 2014.

The Mattermark 2014 Startup Traction Report, released last December, includes a wealth of data on the fastest-growing startups, regions, and industries (get it for $99). They used data from public sources like Crunchbase, AngelList, NASDAQ, the SEC, and the White House Office of Management & Budget, as well as private relationships they have with investors and entrepreneurs. Everything was measured for the 2014 fiscal year, which covers October 2013-September 2014.

If you wanted to know the top startup industries, you might look at how much funding startups have raised and at what valuations, or how many startup employees are in each sector. But if you’re a founder trying to make it big, you would want to know where you’re most likely to get an exit – and for how much money.

Below is Mattermark’s ranking of the top startup industries by number of acquisitions. (A startup could be in multiple industries, like enterprise and mobile, for example.) This only includes startups who received venture funding prior to exit, and the average acquisition amount and ROI are based only on deals where the terms were disclosed.

1. Advertising (121 exits)

Average acquisition amount: $170 million

Average ROI: 27x

2. Analytics (99 exits)

Average acquisition amount: $177 million

Average ROI: 16x

3. Health care (93 exits)

Average acquisition amount: $841 million

Average ROI: 36x

4. Enterprise software (89 exits)

Average acquisition amount: $748 million

Average ROI: 22x

5. Mobile (82 exits)

Average acquisition amount: $998 million

Average ROI: 29x

6. Ecommerce (79 exits)

Average acquisition amount: Between $210-240 million

Average ROI: 25x

7. Marketing (78 exits)

Average acquisition amount: $256 million

Average ROI: 22x

8. Hardware (54 exits)

Average acquisition amount: $536 million

Average ROI: 13x

9. Social networking (54 exits)

Average acquisition amount: $415 million

Average ROI: 13x

10. Security (49 exits)

Average acquisition amount: $279 million

Average ROI: 13x

11. Software development (43 exits)

Average acquisition amount: $363 million

Average ROI: 14x

12. Media (40 exits)

Average acquisition amount: $469 million

Average ROI: 12x

13. Internet of things (40 exits)

Average acquisition amount: $181 million

Average ROI: 6x

Image credit: Flickr/Kurt Bauschardt

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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