Hopes that it would become easier for startups to raise capital in 2023 were left unmet as the year ended. The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. New data from business database PitchBook paints a modestly dim picture of venture capital investment activity in the fourth quarter of 2023. Per PitchBook’s preliminary count, startups in the U.S. raised 2,879 rounds worth about $37.5 billion in the fourth quarter — the lowest quarterly deal value since Q3 2019, and the lowest deal count since Q4 2017. Across stages, venture capital investment activity in the United States is flagging, and this extends past aggregate figures — for example, we saw less total capital invested in U.S. startups last year than in 2020.