SoCal Venture Deals Up In Q2

Investments by venture capitalists in Southern California were up, both in terms of deals and dollars in Q2, according to the latest numbers from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA). According to the latest MoneyTree report from the two, using data provided by Thomson Reuters, Southern California saw $857.3M in 91 investments, up significantly from the $451.8M and 69 deals for Q2 of last year. Quarter-to-quarter growth was also good, going from $627.4M and 80 deals in Q1. Nationally, venture deals in the U.S. totaled $6.5 billion, the strongest quarter since the third quarter of 2008.

Los Angeles saw $407.2M in 45 deals, Orange County saw $279.5M in 21 deals, and San Diego saw $170.6M invested in 24 deals. Both LA and OC were both up in terms of deals and dollars. Southern California's venture totals were significantly boosted by clean technology, and more specifically, financing for electric car manufacturers. Investments in the Industrial/Energy sector, which includes those manufacturers, was the single biggest area for investments in the quarter in Southern California, totaling $231.1M.

The biggest deals in the LA area were for Miles Electrical Vehicles, which raised $56.9M in Q2, Coda Automotive, which raised $33.0M, and HauteLook, which raised $31.0M in the quarter. In Orange County, the biggest deals were for Tri Alpha Energy, which raised $50.0M, Fisker Automotive, which raised $43.0M, and AqueSys, which raised $35.0M. San Diego's biggest deals were for Sonexa Therapeutics, which raised $37.2M, Astute Medical, which raised $26.5M, and Nereus Pharmaceuticals, with $20.0M raised.

In terms of venture firms, the most active firms from Southern California, nationally, were Redpoint Ventures (9 investments), Steamboat Ventures (5 investments), and GRP Partners, Rustic Canyon Partners, Blade Ventures, Avalon Ventures, and Angeleno Group, with four investments each. The most active investors investing in Southern California startups were Domain Associates, Angeleno Group, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

The increasing venture activity seems to indicate a recovery in the outlook for startups here. "Venture capitalists are feeling more positive about the economic outlook for investment, based upon the jump we saw in VC funding this quarter," explained Randy Churchill, who directs Pricewaterhousecoopers' Southern California Emerging Company Services practice. The numbers released by PwC and the NVCA seem to back that statement, showing that so far this year, $1.48 billion has gone into Southern California companies, second only to the $4.48 billion invested in Silicon Valley. Southern California has pulled ahead of New England, which has seen $1.37 billion in investments so far in 2010.