May 2004--Venture capital investments have kept a healthy pace for the first three months of 2004, according to a recent Pricewaterhouse Coopers/Thompson Venture Economics/National Venture Capital Association MoneyTree(TM) survey.

In the first quarter of 2004, $4.6 billion in venture capital was invested in 618 companies. While below the $5.2 billion invested during the last quarter of 2003, the figure is still higher that the $4.2 billion during the first quarter of 2003.

"Capital is flowing at a healthy rate. It's the kind of market that can generate successful companies and sustainable returns," said Tracy Lefteroff, global managing partner of the venture capital practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Life sciences companies saw the most growth in venture capital investment during the first quarter, with biotechnology and medical devices accounting for 27% of all investments. According to the MoneyTree survey, 51 medical device companies and 71 biotechnology companies got funding in the first quarter of 2004.

The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) feels the statistics are good news for the future.

"The fundamentals of a healthy venture industry are aligning: viable exit markets, interesting opportunities in a variety of sectors and sufficient capital to fund the most compelling companies," said Mark Heesen, president of the NVCA.