Venture capitalists made nine investments in North Carolina in the fourth quarter with the deals generating some $59 million, a slight uptick from the third quarter but down more than $1 million from the same quarter in 2010.

However, for 2012 deal making totaled only $325 million across 47 deals, the lowest total since 2005 when one excludes the recession year of 2009. North Carolina, the nation’s 10th largest state, ranked 12th nationally for the year and for the quarter.

Nationally, the investment trend was much stronger. Investments jumped 22 percent to $28.43 billion, in 3,673 deals. That’s up from $23.26 billion in 2010, when the money went to 3,526 deals.

Still, Laura Hoke of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Raleigh said some of the data was encouraging, especially for early-stage funding.

“We had 12 deals for early stage totaling $113 million,” Hoke said. “That’s way up from prior years.”

Industry is “steady,” Triangle VC says. Read here.

Nationally, funding surges. Read here.

Hoke also noted that biotech and life sciences dominated fourth quarter deals with six in biotech or medical devices.

“It seems like ever since I’ve been doing MoneyTree since 2007 that life sciences have really dominated,” she said.

David Jones, a venture capitalist at Southern Capitol Ventures in Raleigh, described the state of the VC industry as “steady.” (Read details here.)

Meanwhile, Suzanne Cantando, spokesperson for Intersouth in Durham, said the southeast’s largest venture firm, is upbeat.

“We thought it was a great year to invest,” Cantando told WRAL Tech Wire.

“We actually closed three new deals (in Baltimore – CSA Medical, Atlanta – SimplifyMD and Florida – Vergent Medical Systems) in the fourth quarter and several of our Triangle-based companies raised follow-on financing. We’re seeing strong valuations for companies that are raising later rounds, which is also a very good sign.

“Quarter-to-quarter numbers for NC can be deceptive because our data set is fairly small – and a deal can easily slip from one quarter into the next and make the numbers look dramatically up or down.

“The fact that we’ve got more early-stage investing (those 12 deals) means that the number of dollars invested will be lower, too – so I don’t think there’s any real bad news in there. The important thing is that we’re still seeing lots of new companies get created. Triangle Startup Factory’s announcement [in Durham] is exciting – just further indication that there’s a lot going on here.”

Other VCs contacted by WRAL Tech Wire also said they are upbeat about the coming year despite a sluggish 2011.

PwC reported 10 deals, including one by Durham-based Appia. However, Jud Bowman, the company’s founder and chief executive officer, told WRAL Tech Wire that his firm was not involved in an investment. Appia did raise $12 million earlier in 2011.

The biggest deal of the quarter was the $27.5 million raised by Greensboro-based 911Interact.

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