Venture deal making continues at a brisk pace across the nation in 2007, but in the Triangle the value of investments dropped, according to figures disclosed Monday by Ernst & Young and Dow Jones VentureOne.

Nationwide, venture funding surged more than 8 percent to $7.4 billion compared to the same quarter in 2006. Venture investments on a year-over-year basis have increased for nine consecutive quarters.

The number of deals rose to 717, the highest VentureOne and E&Y have reported in six years.

“It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur,” said David Jones of early stage venture fund Southern Capitol Ventures in Raleigh. “There is a lot of money out there. They have got to put that money to work.”

Venture funds have raised some $14 billion so far this year, about the same as in the first six months of 2006.

However, in North Carolina, the amount of funding dipped to $166.95 million from $201.5 million in the first quarter even though the number of deals nearly doubled.

North Carolina ranked sixth nationally in the first quarter of the year with $225 million deals, according to another set of statistics compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Financial and the National Venture Capital Association.

In Georgia, deals jumped to 17 from 10 and funding to $97.7 million from $84.6 million.

Two deals were done in South Carolina worth $19.8 million.

VentureOne reported four deals outside of the Triangle compared to none in the first quarter.

That statistic is good in demonstrating a more balanced venture climate in the state, according to Jeff Barber of PricewaterhouseCoopers. But the value of the 20 Triangle deals dipped to $159.35 million compared to the $201.5 million in the first three months of the year.

Barber, who is still waiting to receive quarterly data as compiled by Thomson Financial, PwC and the NVCA, also saw positive news in the number of deals.

“This is a reflection of the health of the overall economy,” Barber explained, noting that emerging companies are drawing investor’s interest. “Everyone is not putting all their eggs in one basket, plus there are more deals being made in early-stage companies.”

Two biotech companies, Serenex ($31 million) and Biolex ($30 million), closed on large deals. But there were no $50-million blockbusters, such as the deal done by Motricity, in the second quarter.

Instead, a rash of early-stage deals led to fundings ranging from $800,000 for CivaTech and $2 million for LaamScience to $5 million for ArgosTherapeutics and $6 million for DigitalSmiths.

Jones would not draw conclusions on venture funding trends based on one quarter, but he too noted that earlier stage companies were drawing attention in the area.

“There are more good deals, not just in software but in wireless and Web 2.0,” he said.

VentureOne reported six software deals in the Triangle, one sector that recently has been very quiet. Seven of eight healthcare deals in the region were life science related.