Venture capital activity hit an all-time high last year, but there are opposite ways to interpret the data. VC bulls say the numbers point to the vibrancy of the asset class, while VC bears say it’s a bubble.

Venture capital set a record in 2021 for deal-making, exit and fundraising dollars by “stunning amounts,” according to research firm PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association. A whopping $329.9 billion was invested in 17,054 deals during the year.

Optimists say the money is supporting vital economic activity. For example, growing New York City coffee-shop company Blank Street, recently garnered commitments for its third funding round in the last year, Vinay Menda, Blank Street’s CEO, told The Wall Street Journal.

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