U.S. Venture Funding Plummets (Yada Yada), But New England Less So—Region’s Top 10 Deals of Q1

The silver lining in the big black rain clouds that were this weekend’s first quarter venture capital investment reports was that New England actually did better than just about anywhere else. As Bruce reported on Saturday, the nation’s venture outlays in Q1 tanked more than 50 percent, to their lowest levels in more than a decade. But thanks to some big deals (see below), led by A123Systems of Watertown, MA, venture investments in the region only slipped 15.5 percent.

That’s the glass half full view, of course. But the New England figures, from Dow Jones VentureSource, showed $594 million pumped into 61 regional deals during the first quarter, against $703 million invested in 83 deals in the same period of 2008. Compare that to, oh, say, the San Francisco Bay Area (which includes Silicon Valley in the VentureSource data). It still led the nation, with $1.14 billion invested in 139 deals. But the dollar figure was 57 percent off the first quarter of 2008, when $2.67 billion was pumped into 254 deals—and Q1 2009 saw the area’s lowest totals, in both dollars and deals, in at least a decade, according to VentureSource.

You can get the full story of first quarter venture investments in Bruce’s account here. But below are the Top 10 New England deals of the first quarter. Seven of the 10 are in healthcare/biotechnology, two (A123Systems and Lilliputian) are in energy and power, and just one, enterprise data protection company Sepaton, in pure information technology.

A123Systems (Watertown, MA) — $69 million
(Investors: GE Capital, GE Energy Financial Services, Conoco Phillips, Detroit Edison, Espirito Santo Ventures, North Bridge Venture Partners, CMEA, Alliance Bernstein, Qualcomm, Sequoia, Novus, and MIT)

Proteon Therapeutics (Waltham, MA) — $38 million
(Investors: MPM Capital, Intersouth Partners, Prism VentureWorks, Skyline Ventures, TVM Capital, Individual Investors)

Still River Systems (Littleton, MA) — $33 million
(Investors: Venrock, CHL Medical Partners)

Aveo Pharmaceuticals (Cambridge, MA) — $30 million
(Investor: Biogen Idec)

Lilliputian Systems (Wilmington, MA) — $27.9 million
(Investors: Altira Group, Atlas Venture, Fairhaven Capital Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, RockPort Capital Partners, Stata Venture Partners)

Hydra Biosciences (Cambridge, MA) — $22.2 million
(Investor: MedImmune)

Marinus Pharmaceuticals (Branford, CT) — $20 million
(Investors: Canaan Partners, Domain Associates, Foundation Medical Partners, Sofinnova Ventures)

Sepaton (Marlborough, MA) — $15.5 million
(Investors: Focus Ventures, HarbourVest Partners, Jerusalem Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, Valhalla Partners)

Surface Logix (Brighton, MA) — $15 million
(Investors: Arch Venture Partners, HBM Partners , Intel Capital, MPM Capital, Unilever Technology Ventures, Venrock)

Stemgent (Cambridge, MA) — $14 million
(Investors: HealthCare Ventures, Morgenthaler)

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