Slideshow: Monster VC Rounds Grow Bigger and Bigger

Go big or go home has become the mantra for venture capital firms. So far this year, U.S.-based venture firms have made eight investments in information technology companies that have topped $100 million, according to peHUB’s analysis of data from Thomson Reuters (our publisher). That’s a huge increase from the single IT deal that was done in the same period a year ago.

PeHUB analyzed actual venture deals, not leveraged buyouts or PIPE (private investment in public equity) deals done by VC firms.

The only $100 million-plus VC deal done between Jan. 1 and April 5 of 2010 was for a hardware company: ExteNet Systems, which builds telecom infrastructure for wireless service providers. The Lisle, Ill.-based company raised $131 million in a Series D round from Centennial Ventures, CenterPoint Venture Partners, Columbia Capital, Palomar Ventures, Sevin Rosen Funds, TowerBrook Capital Partners, SBA Communications, and SSP Offshore LLC (an affiliate of Soros Fund Management).

Of the eight $100 million-plus IT deals done this year, only two were for companies developing hardware (in this case, chips), a traditionally capital-intensive business. Most — five — of the investments were in Internet companies and one was in an enterprise software developer. As a group, the eight companies raised just over (gulp) $3 billion in venture capital. (Another interesting tidbit: three of the companies are based outside of the United States, indicating U.S. VCs are increasingly willing to go abroad if a deal is compelling enough.)

You are likely aware of daily deal website LivingSocial, which announced on Wednesday that it had raised $400 million in venture backing. But do you know who else is on our Big 8 list? See our slideshow to find out.

[slide title=”No. 8: Tabula”]

Tabula Inc.
Location: Santa Clara, Calif.
Backers: Balderton Capital Management (U.K.), Benchmark Capital, Crosslink Capital, Duff Ackerman & Goodrich, Greylock Partners, Integral Capital Partners, New Enterprise Associates Inc.
Description: Manufactures semiconductors for general-purpose chip. Offers 3-D programmable logic devices that support a portfolio of soft IP cores, including DDR2 and DDR3 memory controllers, PCI Express, gigabit and 10 gigabit Ethernet, soft CPUs, sRIO, CPRI, and OBSAI; and Space time, a programmable logic architecture that reconfigures logic, memory, and interconnect at multi-GHz rates.

[slide title=”No. 7:”] Ltd.
Location: London
Backers: Accel Partners, Balderton Capital Management (U.K.), Dawn Capital, Greylock Partners, Meritech Capital Partners, Oak Investment Partners, Welcome Trust, TAG
Description: Operates online consumer finance business that provides U.K. consumers with flexible and instant cash advances whenever they need it. The Company offers short term loans of between five days and a month and takes the repayment from debit cards.

[slide title=”No. 6: Privalia Venta”]

Privalia Venta Directa SL
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Backers: General Atlantic LLC, Highland Capital Partners LLC, Index Ventures, Insight Venture Partners
Description: Operates an online club that organizes spot sales of products from leading brands with discounts of up to 70% when compared with the price of the stores. Offers products from several categories, including fashion, sports supplements and household and personal care. Privalia used the capital to acquire Dress for Less, a Germany-based online apparel retailer.

[slide title=”No. 5: OSIsoft”]

Amount: $135M
Location: San Leandro, Calif.
Backers: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Technology Crossover Ventures
Description: Makes software used to capture, process and store data relating to manufacturing processes. OSIsoft also offers web-enabled applications to distribute data across corporate intranets and the Internet, and it can integrate the data into other enterprise applications.

[slide title=”No. 4: Plastic Logic”]

Plastic Logic Ltd.
Amount: $200M
Location: Mountain View, Calif.
Backers: Oak Investment Partners, Rusnano
Description: Develops plastic circuits for mass applications. Its products are used in mobile phone screens and displays.

[slide title=”No. 3: LivingSocial”]

LivingSocial (aka Hungry Machine Inc.)
Amount: $400M
Washington, D.C.
Backers: Company announced on April 6 that it had raised $400 million, but it did not name the investors. NYT’s DealBook blog said the money came from new backers T. Rowe Price and Institutional Venture Partners and return backers and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Hungry Machine, the holding company for LivingSocial, filed a document with the SEC on March 24 showing that it raised $2.9 million from, Grotech Ventures, U.S. Venture Partners and AOL co-founder Steve Case’s Revolution LLC. It isn’t clear if that round was a tranche of the announced $400 million round.
Description: Company offers daily online deals to consumers and is a major competitor to Groupon.

[slide title=”No. 2: Groupon”]

Groupon Inc.
Amount: $450M
Backers: Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Maverick Capital Ltd., Maveron LLC, New Enterprise Associates Inc., Silver Lake, Technology Crossover Ventures, Undisclosed Investor
Description: Offers daily deals on things to do, eat, see and buy in more than 500 markets in 44 countries.

[slide title=”No. 1:”] (aka Beijing Jingdong Century Trading Co. Ltd.)
Location: Beijing
Backers: The company raised $1.3 billion on March 29 from 12 investors, including Tiger Global Management, Hill House Capital and Digital Sky Technologies (DST), according to Thomson Reuters. Reuters reported on April 1 that the company had announced it had raised $1.5 billion, including $500 million from DST.
Description: China’s largest online retailer.