Seed valuations varied significantly by sector in 2022

Seed valuations varied significantly by sector in 2022

Author: Kevin Dowd
Read time:  2 minutes
Published date:  March 7, 2023
Carta data shows median valuations for seed-stage startups were steady in 2022. For SaaS, hardware, healthcare, and fintech, valuations varied.

While valuations at most phases of the startup lifecycle were highly volatile in 2022, the earliest stage was an apparent exception. The median valuation for seed fundings on Carta stayed steady at $15 million in each of the first three quarters. In Q4, it inched down to $14 million. 

On a sector-by-sector basis, however, things were a bit more interesting. The downturn is affecting different sectors in different ways. In each of the four sectors seen below, median seed valuations moved by at least 20% over the course of the year.

Median pre-money valuation by industry, Q12020-Q4 2022

Seed valuations by sector

The SaaS sector is by far the largest in Carta’s database, with more than 7,800 companies on the platform. SaaS companies on Carta logged more than 2,000 transactions last year.

The median seed valuation resulting from these transactions fell from $17 million to $13 million—a 24% dip. The plunge was steeper in fintech, where the median seed valuation fell by 39%. 

Among this sample of four sectors, SaaS and fintech had the two highest median seed valuations in Q1. But by Q4, two other sectors were on top.

Chief among them is the umbrella category of hardware, electronics, and IT. The median seed valuation for startups providing these three types of tech infrastructure rose 39% over the course of the year—but it was a bumpy ascent, including a valuation spike in Q2 and a notable dip in Q3. 

Seed valuations are also trending up in the healthtech sector, which saw a 33% increase over the course of the year. That includes a 23% jump in Q4 alone. 

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Kevin Dowd
Author: Kevin Dowd
Kevin Dowd is a senior writer covering the private markets. Prior to joining Carta, he reported on venture capital and private equity at Forbes, where he wrote the Deal Flow newsletter, and at PitchBook, where he wrote The Weekend Pitch.