Venture capital financing dropped to $4.6 billion in the first quarter, according to new figures from the Money Tree Survey.

Investments had risen to $5.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2004, up from $4.6 billion the previous quarter.

However, first-time fundings did jump to $1.2 billion as 2005 opened — the highest level in almost two years.

The Money Tree Survey is compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Venture Economics and the National Venture Capital Assocation.