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VC Pie Shrinks in 3Q, But More Startups Get a Piece

The number of venture capital deals made from July to September rose compared to the same period a year earlier, even as the total dollar amount declined. The number of investments in early-stage startups also rose by 21%, according to a report released Friday.

The total number of venture deals rose by 9% to 780 from 716 in the same period in 2009, according to the MoneyTree Report (pdf) from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. More than a quarter of them (35%) were in early stage deals. The total amount invested during that period also fell by 7% to $4.8 billion from $5.2 billion as investors turned their attention from “clean” tech startups to lower-cost tech ventures.

Software starups raked in a total of $1 billion, an increase of 25% from a year ago, the most of any industry. Clean tech investment in companies such as electric car makers and solar power fell 32% to $625 million.

Investment in early-stage deals rose to $1.29 billion from $1.17 billion a year ago, and represented 271 deals; up from 224 in 2009. However, while early-stage investment rose, the number of seed-stage investments fell by 11% to 87 from 98 a year ago. This indicates that investors are nervous about putting money behind new ideas, but are still interested in backing young companies, according to the Associated Press.