Companies backed by venture capital play an important role in economic growth. Estimates attribute 16.6 percent of national Gross Domestic Product and 9 percent of national private sector employment to them. Many technology-oriented startup firms will need venture capital in order to successfully grow and create significant numbers of new jobs. The number of companies funded by venture capital dollars in the 3rd quarter of 2017 year-to-date totaled 53, an decrease of 23 over the same period last year. Pittsburgh ranks above the benchmark average of 55 companies.