Venture capital deals hit a six-year high in the second  quarter, driven by a surge in seed and early-stage business funding, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association reported this week.

A total of $7.1 billion in venture capital was invested in 977 deals in the second quarter, the highest number of deals since the third quarter of 2001, the report said.

Nearly a third of those deals involved seed and early-stage development funding.

The gains show the venture capital industry is "extremely active" in helping build companies from the ground up, according to Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association.

Fourteen of 17 sectors tracked by the report had more deals than in the opening quarter, though the dollar value of deals in 10 sectors declined.

-next-