Can North Carolina maintain the torrid pace of venture financing that produced the best quarter of deals in six years and lifted the state to sixth place nationally?

“No way,” said Jason Caplain of Southern Capitol Ventures. “I don’t think those are sustainable numbers. We’ll probably go back to the more historical numbers – 10th to 12th in the country.”

Caplain and about 100 other venture capitalists, angel investors and entrepreneurs seeking financing gathered earlier this week to discuss the venture environment at the quarterly PricewaterhouseCoopers “MoneyTree” report.

They had much to digest along with the buffet breakfast.

In the first quarter, PWC’s Laura Hoke walked the crowd through statistics showing a strong performance, or what she described as a “great, great quarter.”:

• Sixteen deals

• $225 million in investment

• N.C. received 3.5 percent of the total venture dollars invested in the U.S. in the quarter

• Deals in N.C. averaged $14.1 million – $5 million higher than the national average

• N.C. ranked sixth in venture deals, a jump from the usual 10th-12th place ranking

Venture funding in the second quarter got off to a fast start with Triangle-based ChannelAdvisor raising $30 million. But Caplain and other VCs were in agreement that North Carolina is unlikely to match the first quarter performance since it included two $50 million deals – InnerPulse in medical devices and Motricity in media.

“We had two $50 million deals in the quarter, and I don’t expect that to be a trend,” said Mike Elliott of venture firm Noro-Moseley. However, Elliott also stressed that the investment climate is strong and prospects for more deals are good. “I’m hoping that will continue.”

Steve Nelson of Wakefield Group concurred.

“The good thing is the good deals are getting done,” said Nelson. He called the first quarter “a bit of an anomaly,” and added that the true state of the VC business is to look at several years of performance, not one three-month period.

“There’s always lumpiness in the market,” Elliott added.

All the North Carolina deals in the first quarter were done with Triangle-based firms. But deal flow is good in Charlotte where he is seeing possible deals, said Elliott, who is based there. Prospects are good elsewhere, too. “In Atlanta, there is good deal flow,” he said. “Florida is very strong.”

As strong as the quarterly performance was in North Carolina, both Elliott and Nelson stressed that the deal making is manageable.

“I feel very good about where we are,” Elliott said. “The deal flow is good, but it’s not to the point where we are crazy.”

The “crazy” comment was about the “dot com” boom days. North Carolina’s $224 million performance in the first quarter of 2001 was the best three-month showing before the 2007 burst of business.

“I’m hopeful that it won’t be crazy,” Nelson added.

John Cambier of NC IDEA, which recently launched a new fund, also stressed a strong yet rational investment environment.

“We had two $50 million deals in the first quarter, and I don’t expect that to be a trend,” he said. However, there are some good size deals out there. I’m hopeful that will continue.

“We’re seeing some real interesting deals,” he added. “We’ve got a handful of companies we are interested in, and we’re hopeful we’ll close a couple of deals.”

Nelson pointed out that money is available for the right deal. But entrepreneurs and executives at startups can’t expect investors to seek them out, he added.

“You have to know where to look,” Nelson said.