In the first quarter of 2024, the private markets have shown dynamic changes in investment trends, valuations, and the sizes of funding rounds across various stages from Seed to Series C. The data provided by Carta (First Cut – State of Private Markets: Q1 2024) offers valuable insights for startups and investors alike, capturing the essence of the market’s evolution over the past five years. Here’s a deep dive into what these trends might mean for the future of funding.

Seed Stage Dynamics

At the seed stage, the median pre-money valuation has shown a varied trend across different types of funding rounds, namely primary rounds and bridge rounds. Over the last five years, while primary rounds have maintained a gradual increase in valuations, bridge rounds have seen a more fluctuating pattern, indicative of the market’s response to initial growth trajectories versus ongoing funding needs .

Seed round sizes also reflect cautious optimism. The median cash raised in primary rounds has seen a slight uptick, suggesting a growing confidence in new ventures. Conversely, bridge rounds have experienced more variability, which could be attributed to the strategic financial adjustments startups make based on their developmental progress and market conditions .

Series A: Establishing Market Position

Series A rounds are often pivotal for startups as they establish their presence in the market. The data reveals that median pre-money valuations for Series A have consistently risen, reflecting increased investor confidence in startups that progress beyond the seed stage. This trend is evident in both primary and bridge rounds, although primary rounds consistently command higher valuations due to the fresh milestones achieved before new funding is sought .

Similarly, the cash raised during Series A rounds has shown significant growth, aligning with the higher valuations and underscoring a robust appetite for well-positioned startups that are scaling their operations .

Series B and C: Scaling and Expanding

As startups reach Series B and C, the stakes increase alongside their valuations and round sizes. The charts indicate that Series B and Series C rounds have seen substantial increases in median pre-money valuations, especially in primary rounds. This suggests that companies reaching these stages are likely achieving significant business milestones that attract larger investments .

The median cash raised during these rounds also mirrors this growth, with Series C rounds, in particular, showcasing larger capital inflows. This reflects the scale of operations and the market footprint that these companies have established by this stage .

The upward trajectory in valuations and round sizes across successive funding stages suggests a healthy investment climate and confidence in the growth potential of startups. However, the variability observed, especially in bridge rounds across all stages, highlights the nuanced financial strategies companies must adopt to navigate the complexities of growth and investor expectations.

For investors, these trends provide a roadmap of where the market is heading, which sectors might be heating up, and where caution might be warranted. For entrepreneurs, understanding these patterns is crucial for timing their funding rounds and setting realistic expectations about valuation and the amount of capital they can raise.


The first quarter of 2024 has painted an intriguing picture of the private markets, with robust growth in some areas tempered by caution in others. As the market continues to evolve, staying informed and understanding the underlying trends will be key for both startups and investors aiming to make strategic decisions in this dynamic landscape.

Also published on Medium.

By John Mecke

John is a 25 year veteran of the enterprise technology market. He has led six global product management organizations for three public companies and three private equity-backed firms. He played a key role in delivering a $115 million dividend for his private equity backers – a 2.8x return in less than three years. He has led five acquisitions for a total consideration of over $175 million. He has led eight divestitures for a total consideration of $24.5 million in cash. John regularly blogs about product management and mergers/acquisitions.