Venture capital funding increases in region in first quarter

Venture capitalists poured $286.3 million into 30 deals in Maryland, Washington and Northern Virginia during the first quarter, compared with $219.7 million invested in 45 deals a year ago, according to the MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Much of the quarter's increase, though, was attributed to $110 million in venture funding for Washington-based LivingSocial Inc., a daily deal website.

Unlike the country overall, the region that includes Maryland saw an increase in investment dollars from the fourth quarter, said Brad Phillips, director of PricewaterhouseCoopers' emerging company services. "It's encouraging," he said.

Nationally, investment dollars fell over the past year. Venture capitalists invested $5.87 billion in first quarter, compared with $6.26 billion for the corresponding quarter a year ago, according to the report.

The software industry in the most recent quarter attracted the biggest chunk of venture funding — $2.3 billion — followed by the biotechnology sector, which received $875 million.

eileen.ambrose@baltsun.com

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