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High Rollers

Venture capitalists showed entrepreneurs the big bucks in 2007. Could one of our top VC firms be looking for a business like yours this time around?

Entrepreneurs were the big winners in 2007, receiving more than $7 billion in venture capital a quarter for four straight quarters--a phenomenon not seen since 2001. Venture capitalists invested $29.4 billion in 3,813 deals in 2007, marking the highest yearly investment total since 2001, according to a special analysis of the "MoneyTree Report" prepared exclusively for Entrepreneur by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, based on data from Thomson Reuters. The total invested in 2007 represents a 10.8 percent increase in dollars and a 5 percent increase in deal volume over 2006.

Companies in the seed/early stage of development received more dollars in 2007, with investments rising 21 percent from the prior year to total $6.3 billion. On average, these companies received $4.5 million each. At the same time, first-time financings reached a six-year high as venture capitalists placed more initial bets in companies across multiple sectors, with 1,267 companies taking home a total of $7.2 billion.

Much of the increase in investments over the prior year can be attributed to record investment in the clean technology and life sciences sectors, as well as strong investment levels in internet-specific companies. With an encouraging M&A market and the most venture-backed IPOs we've seen in several years, venture capitalists were feeling lucky and sharing the pot with new and seasoned companies alike throughout 2007. And with large amounts of money still in the venture capitalists' coffers, odds are 2008 may find lady luck continuing to smile on entrepreneurs with good ideas and solid business plans.

See the list on the following pages to find out which venture capital firms might take a gamble on your newest venture.

Tracy T. Lefteroff, global managing partner of the venture capital practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers

To see the top 100 VC firms, click here.

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This article was originally published in the August 2008 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: High Rollers.

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