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Venture Capitalists Pump $5.6 Billion into 761 Deals in First Quarter

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Venture capitalists invested $5.6 billion across 761 deals in the first quarter, a 12 percent increase from the same quarter in 2005.

That's according to the latest data from the PricewaterhouseCoopers and

National Venture Capital Association

report, based on information provided by Thomson Financial.

Their numbers are slightly under the $6.02 billion quarterly figure reported by VentureOne on Monday.

Across the Southeast, 51 deals worth $242 million were reported by PwC and the NVCA. That's well under the $279 million and $368 million first-quarter totals reported in 2005 and 2004 respectively.

In the Research Triangle Park area, PwC and NVCA reported 14 deals worth some $76 million, according to The News & Observer.

PwC provides The N&O with information about venture funding in advance of its general release by PwC and the NVCA to other media.

VentureOne reported 13 deals in RTP worth $88.4 million. That compared to $61 million in investments a year ago, according to VentureOne data.

Nationally, biotech investments dropped 24 percent from the fourth quarter of 2005 to $808 million, PwC and the NVCA said. However, investments in media and entertainment companies jumped 80 percent to $396 million to reach a four-year high.

"As far as investment equilibrium, it doesn't get much more stable than this," said Mark Heesen, president of the NVCA, in a statement. "In the last 16 quarters, venture capitalists have consistently placed $4 - $6 billion into a diverse set of emerging growth companies with no single sector experiencing major surges or major draughts. We are experiencing the regular ebb and flow of venture investing and we are truly at our healthiest and most sound investment point since the mid 1990's. That said, we will need to see improvements in the IPO markets and better evidence of early stage investing momentum in future quarters if we expect to sustain this reasonable pace."

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