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Robert Trigaux

In a wimpy quarter for venture capital, how can Florida attract more start-up investing?



tower_cloud_logo_on_clouds3.jpgWake up and good morning. It was not a good quarter for Florida in the venture capital world. Ten Florida companies, including three in the Tampa Bay area, landed a total of more than $48.3 million from professional venture-investment firms during the third quarter. That's a 24 percent decrease from the same quarter last year, says the MoneyTree survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.

In fact, after a brief appearance in the nation's top 10 earlier this year, Florida has dropped further behind other large states in the amount of venture capital flowing its way, says an Orlando Sentinel story. Read it here. Florida ranked 18th nationally, down four spots from the second quarter and nine spots from the first quarter, when it broke into the top 10 for the first time in years.

progressuslogo.pngTopping the list were the usual venture-capital powerhouses: California ($3.4 billion), New York ($747 million), Texas ($601 million) and Massachusetts ($544 million).

But nationwide, venture capital investment nationwide fell 12 percent to $6.95 billion during the third quarter, compared with $7.9 billion in the second quarter, according to the MoneyTree report. Venture-capital experts cited a falloff in the number of deals for once-fast-growing entrepreneurial companies in life sciences and clean-energy technologies. Meanwhile, the software sector enjoyed its strongest quarter in nearly 10 years.

Three Tampa Bay companies were among those with venture deals in the third quarter:

* Medical services company Caregiver Institute, LLC in Tampa (if you find its web site, let me know) on North Rocky Point Drive received $900,000 from Wheatley Partners.

* Progressus Inc. of Tampa, curiously also on North Rocky Point Drive, provides occupational and physical therapy services. It received $1.48 million from Sterling Partners. If you read about the Progressus web site, it says it's really hadquartered in Baltimore and Tampa is its operations center. 

* Tower Cloud in St. Petersburg off Gandy Blvd. builds wireless Internet backbone infrastructure. It raised $4.4 million from a host of investment firms that include Ballast Partners, CLR Financial Services, El Dorado Ventures, Hamilton Lane Advisors,  Kinetic Ventures LLC, Noro-Moseley Partners and Sutter Hill Ventures.

So let's ask the eternal question in Florida... How do we generate more venture capital interest in this state?

-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, St. Petersburg Times

[Last modified: Thursday, October 20, 2011 7:45am]


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