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Robert Trigaux

Only 11 Florida companies get venture capital



If the words "Florida" and "venture capital" do not roll easily off the tongue, there's a reason. The state continues to fight for attention from deep-pocketed venture capital firms -- many of whom are based far from the Sunshine State and rarely take a long look at what's cooking here.

The weak economy does not help, as results show from the latest quarterly MoneyTree survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. Florida companies took in only $54-million from venture investors in the third quarter. That's off 65 percent from the first quarter and one of its lowest totals this decade. Florida fell to 17th among the states with 11 companies (Orlando's Raydiance getting the most) -- including three firms in Tampa -- receiving venture capital in the quarter. By comparison, top-ranked California posted more than $3.5-billion in the quarter with 53 companies getting funds. Here are the Florida businesses receiving third quarter venture capital.

Acclaris, Inc., Tampa, received $500,100 
Altor BioScience Corp., Miramar, $4.5-million   
mVisible Technologies, Inc. (known as Myxer, Inc.), Deerfield Beach, $4.32-million   
NovaMin Technology, Inc., Alachua, $5-million   
Raydiance, Inc., Orlando, $21.6-million   
SaftPay, Inc., Miami Beach, $6-million   
Scrapblog, Inc., Coral Gables, $2-million   
Skyway Software, Inc. (known as Turtle Software, Inc.), Tampa $1.99-million   
Telovations, Inc., Tampa, $2.325-million   
Undisclosed Company  Winter Park N/A   
Visible Assets Inc. (known as VAI), Miami $5.75-million

Overall, venture capitalists invested $7.1-billion in 907 deals in the third quarter of 2008, according to the MoneyTree report. Quarterly investment activity was down 7 percent compared with the second quarter of 2008 when $7.7-billion was invested in 1,033 deals. Biotech inched out the software industry for top billing as the number one industry sector in terms of dollars in the third quarter with $1.35-billion invested compared to $1.34-invested in software companies. But based on number of deals, software remained the top industry with 214 companies receiving funding in the third quarter compared with only 114 biotech companies. Industrial/energy, driven by clean technology investment, companies captured the third highest level of funding in the latest quarter with $1.2-billion going into 96 deals.

The financial crisis in October was not reflected in the third-quarter venture capital investment levels. Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association, said venture-backed companies that can't exit -- meaning go public or be sold, for examples -- due to poor market conditions may require capital providers to commit more time and money. That may channel resources away from new deals next year, he warned.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:22am]


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