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Investors put more cash into Florida

Companies attract $87-million in venture capital, a sharp increase, in the first quarter of 2004.

By LOUIS HAU
Published April 27, 2004

Venture capital investments in Florida surged at least 52 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, with just two deals accounting for half of the state's total reported take, according to a survey released Monday.

Florida accounted for 1.9 percent of nationwide venture capital investments in the quarter, ranking it 12th among states receiving venture funding, an improvement from 20th a year earlier and 15th for full-year 2003, according to the MoneyTree survey produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Venture Economics and the National Venture Capital Association.

During the quarter ended March 31, Florida companies drew 13 venture capital investments worth $87.2-million, up sharply from $57.5-million during the same period last year and up 16 percent from $75.2-million in the fourth quarter of 2003. The value of a 14th deal - an investment by Hispania Capital Partners in Samy Cos. of Miami - was not disclosed.

Just two companies - AdvanTech Solutions of Tampa and Seisint Inc. of Boca Raton - accounted for 51 percent of all reported Florida venture investments in the March quarter.

Despite the large increase in the value of Florida venture investments, the number of deals remains stuck around the same levels seen in the pre-venture-boom mid 1990s, according to Marty Donsky, marketing manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers. "Things have sort of settled back to a more cautious, conservative pattern," he said.

- Louis Hau can be reached at hau@sptimes.com or 813 226-3404.

[Last modified April 27, 2004, 01:05:33]

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