Southern California Bucks VC Trend, As Firms Raise $924.13M In Q1

These numbers do not surprise me, as it seems like every day that I hear about another hot company raising a multi-million dollar round of funding. This is phenomenal news for the continued growth of Los Angeles as a tech hub. More exciting and unique companies are gaining more capital to foster new growth, which in turn will exponentially grow our collaborative ecosystem of entreprenurial excellence. SoCal Tech

The latest numbers from the MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, The National Venture Capital Association, and Thomson Reuters have tallied up just under a billion dollars in venture capital investments in the Southern California region in Q1 of this year, a very significant uptick from Q2 of 2011. Southern California's investment totals bucked a downward national trend in venture capital investing. According to the MoneyTree Report, $924.13M was invested in Southern California in Q1 of 2012, up from $602.742M invested in the region in Q1 of 2011. The amount was also more than in Q4 of 2011, when $780.0M was invested in the region.

In terms of dollars, San Diego led the region with $357.0M in investments across 21 deals, boosted significantly by a $139M investment in Sapphire Energy; Los Angeles was second with $$317.8M in 48 deals; Orange County had $249.3M in 13 deals. The largest deal was Sapphire Energy's $139M funding, followed by Fisker Automotive, which raised $129.72M, and Sientra, which raised $65.0M in the quarter.

The largest sector of investment was Industrial/Energy, which includes clean technology, with $320.58M invested across Southern California. Other areas with large investment dollars for the quarter were Biotechnology, with $182.78M invested, and Medical Devices, with $181.39M in funding.

The most active venture capital investor from Southern California was Los Angeles-based Siemer Ventures, with six investments during the quarter; La Jolla-based Avalon Ventures followed with 4 investments, and DFJ Frontier, Qualcomm Ventures, Cycad Group all reporting three total investments. The most active investors investing specifically in Southern California companies--as opposed to being based here--were Siemer Ventures again, with five investments, followed by Versant Ventures (4), then Venrock Associates, Domain Associates, First Round Capital, U.S. Venture Partners, Google Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, all with three investments in Southern California compnaies each.

Interestingly enough, Southern California bucked the national trend with a rise in investment, where quarterly VC investment activity nationally dropped 19 percent in terms of dollars and 15 percent in number of deals. $5.8 billion was invested in 758 deals nationally, down from $7.1 billion invested in 889 deals in the fourth quarter of 2011.

*Shared by Ted Simpson, Scott Steuber & Jeff Vertun

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