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Major U.S. centers attract big venture dollars in Q1

Cash continued to flow to the major centers of venture investing in the first quarter, with a huge boost of deal value in New York and capital levels strong in Silicon Valley and Boston.

Investment in the second-tier centers of Austin, Texas, and the Pacific Northwest also rose solidly, but Chicago, Los Angeles and the Rocky Mountain region saw a softening.

Southeast investing also weakened, according to U.S. data from PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association.

The results suggest that investors remain focused on the most established regions of venture investing, even as some emerging regions, including Detroit, draw growing interest.

Nationwide, Q1 venture investing of $32.9 billion fell 1.5 percent from the $33 billion quarterly average of last year, according to the data.

In the New York metropolitan area, dollars going to work jumped an exceptionally strong 179 percent to $8.8 billion, helped substantially by a $5 billion deal with the We Company, operator of WeWork office spaces. This topped even the San Francisco metro, where $8.7 billion went out.

The San Francisco results showed a pull back from an exceptional fourth quarter, when the $12.8 billion Juul Labs deal lifted capital deployed to $22.3 billion. San Francisco investing nonetheless remained at a high level historically, according to the data.

Capital also fell 2.6 percent in San Jose, California, or the Silicon Valley area, but also held at an historically elevated level.

Deployments in Boston advanced 6.6 percent from the fourth quarter to an historically strong $3.1 billion.

On the other hand, along with Los Angeles, capital fell in San Diego. Results in the Midwest, including Chicago, were mixed, with strength in such places as Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan, but weakness in Minneapolis and Ohio. Across the Midwest cash invested rose 12.6 percent.

Capital deployed across the Northwest grew 12.1 percent.