Jan. 2, 2007 -- At total of 58 venture-backed companies raised $5.3 billion by going public last year, the highest amount since 2004, according to a report by the National Venture Capital Association, a New York-based trade group.

Technology-sector IPOs were the most lucrative in 2006, raising $916 million over 10 offerings, followed by life sciences and other non-tech firms, the report said.

"The year ended strongly for the venture-backed IPO market as we had the highest quarterly volume in two years," Mark Heesen, the group's president, said in statement. He added the recent easing of strict accounting regulations for small public companies under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act might give the IPO market a boost in 2007.

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