Quarterly VC Investment Activity Way Up… But Still Way Down

Earlier today, the National Venture Capital Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers released investment activity results for the second quarter of the year. The results? VCs invested $6.5 billion in 906 deals — a 34 percent increase in capital and a 22 percent increase in the number of deals compared with the first quarter of the year.

It’s encouraging, no doubt. But while the association put a positive spin on the data, the numbers aren’t remarkable. Compared to the period between 2005 and 2008 — the last period when venture showed real growth — results this year have been decidedly lackluster other than when compared with 2009’s anemic numbers.

For example, while the press release accompanying the data highlights that in the first half of 2010, VC investments are up 49 percent in dollars and 23 percent in the number of deals from the first half of 2009, investment is still way down — about 30 percent in dollars and about 15 percent in the number of deals –compared with the first half of 2007.

Other notable points in the new data sets include that investment in clean tech — $1.7 billion into 71 deals — broke the quarterly record for the sector. (A $350 million slug into Better Place helped.)

The $2.1 billion that went toward funding 234 life sciences companies also represents a nice uptick from the first quarter, when everyone was still waiting to see what would happen with the healthcare reform package. (It’s a 52 percent jump in dollars and 36 percent jump in deals from the first quarter.)

Not last, seed and early-stage deals dominated. Indeed, the 136 early-stage deals in the second quarter of this year tops the 123 early-stage deals that were sewn up in the third quarter of 2008, before the economy imploded.

For more detailed data and charts, click here.