Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Venture Dollars Find RI in Second Quarter 2011

The good news:  venture capital investments in New England hit a 10 year high in the second quarter this year, with $1.1 billion invested in 119 companies, according to the MoneyTree Report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers. 

The bad news:  only two of those companies are in Rhode Island, netting a total of $1,151,000.

So while investments in New England companies are back to where they were a decade ago before the "Internet crash," the money still is not flowing to Rhode Island.  Ten years ago, venture capital investments in Rhode Island companies totalled $19.6 million in the first quarter of 2001, and $26 million in the second quarter of 2001.

Nationally, venture capitalists invested $7.5 billion in 966 deals in the second quarter, representing a 19% increase over the first quarter, when $6.3 billion was invested in 814 deals.  The Life Sciences sector (including biotechnology and medical device companies) accounted for much of the growth, improving 37% in dollars and 12% in deals over the first quarter.  Investments in Internet companies also rose to the highest quarterly level since 2001.

Locally, the two companies to receive investments are VCharge, Inc., of Cranston, and GreenBytes, Inc., of Ashaway.  VCharge, a company that offers scalable, rapid-response energy storage for the electric grid, received $150,000 in seed funding from the State's Slater Technology Fund.  GreenBytes, a more established company, received $1,001,000 from Battery Ventures, an existing investor.  GreenBytes makes hardware and software that IT operations teams use to store and protect huge amounts of data, and to control how much energy they must use to do so.

Let's hope these investment dollars start finding their way to Rhode Island.

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