Editor's Note: This article is part of our series marking the second anniversary of the pandemic. Other installments include:  Roughly two years have passed since COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns took effect in the US, upending lives and changing the way the world works almost overnight.

For VC-backed businesses, that period has been characterized by immense valuation growth, although a handful of companies found themselves on the wrong side of an economic shift that lifted much of the tech world.

With the world relying on virtual meetings, ecommerce and delivery services, the information technology and financial services sectors grew rapidly, increasing their value by 68.5% and 61.9% respectively. That translates to a $143.2 billion increase in the value of European and North American VC-backed financial services companies and a whopping $1.7 trillion for IT.

Of the 20 European and North American VC-backed companies that saw the largest raw increases in valuation, 13 were in IT and all but one of those were in software.

Online payments platform Stripe saw the biggest jump in valuation over the course of the pandemic at $129.5 billion, a beneficiary of increased ecommerce spending. Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase and gaming platform Roblox rounded out the top three.

Conversely, with the pandemic changing spending habits, the consumer products and services sector was the slowest-growing, registering an increase of 51.1%. And with businesses shifting to remote work, the materials and resources sector also grew more slowly, registering a change of 55.5%, the second lowest.

While the pandemic brought broad tailwinds for VC-backed tech startups, not every company grew. Many highly valued companies failed to record a financing round throughout the course of the pandemic or saw their valuation go down.

Of the VC-backed companies with a value greater than $100 million, 148 have seen their valuation decrease since March 2020.

Some of these companies were directly impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. Flexible office space provider Knotel lost more than $1 billion in value after it declared bankruptcy and was acquired by real estate brokerage Newmark. Scooter-sharing startup Lime raised a round led by Uber that dropped its valuation to $510 million from $2.4 billion, according to PitchBook data.

Other prominent struggling companies had problems unrelated to the pandemic.

Magic Leap, a Florida-based developer of a virtual computing interface system, was the highest-valued company that had a down round, which shaved its valuation by $4.69 billion.

The most valuable company that has not raised funding in the past two years is JUUL, a San Francisco-based e-cigarette manufacturer that last year agreed to pay North Carolina $40 million to settle a spate of lawsuits regarding its marketing practices towards children and teenagers.

Featured image by matejmo/Getty Images

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