North Carolina’s entrepreneurial companies raised $266 million in funding during the first half of this year, up 31 percent from a year ago, according to a new report.
The number of North Carolina companies that raised capital, meanwhile, rose to 127, up from 96 a year ago.
“All of this, we think, highlights the strength of the entrepreneurial sector” across the state, said Joan Siefert Rose, president of CED, the Triangle-based support group for entrepreneurs that compiled the report. CED released the data Tuesday morning at the outset of its Tech Venture Conference, a two-day event at the Raleigh Convention Center that brings together entrepreneurs and investors from across the country.
The spurt in overall funding documented by CED counters recent dismal reports of the amount of venture capital invested in North Carolina, including the Triangle. The $22 million in venture capital raised by Triangle companies in the second quarter marked the region’s worst showing in two years.
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But Rose said that North Carolina startups and early-stage companies are benefiting from “a whole new class of investors” that have been upping their investments in recent years.
The CED data include, in addition to venture capital, investments from other sources such as angel investors and corporations, as well as nearly $27 million in government and nonprofit grants and awards. The money was raised by privately held information technology, life science, advanced manufacturing and “clean tech” companies.
Dhruv Patel, CED’s program director, noted that of the $266 million raised in the first half, just $90 million was venture capital.
“The good news is that North Carolina companies are attracting investments from multiple sources across the globe,” Rose said.
Of the 48 institutional investors that plowed money into North Carolina companies in the first half of the year, 17 hail from North Carolina. Twenty-nine others are based elsewhere in the U.S., including eight from California. Two of those providing funds are European.
Patel noted that for every $1 raised by life science companies, IT companies raised nearly $6.
“That is unusual for our state,” Rose said. “This shows that the N.C. entrepreneurial economy is not dependent on any one sector.”
She added that many of the IT companies raising money now were started in the wake of the recession and are now “gaining traction.”
Asked if the CED could be overstating the investment picture, Rose replied: “If anything, we are probably understating the amount of individual investment activity. It took us a great deal of sleuthing to discover what we did.”