Venture capital funding for Q1 slowest since 2003

Despite VC firms raising $4.1 billion during the first quarter of 2013, fewer firms are contributing and a new report suggests this may be a sign of decreased investment levels to come.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
The number of funds that contributed to venture capital fundraising last quarter are fewer than any other time in the last 10 years.

If the first quarter is any gauge for U.S. venture capital funding, there's not a lot to look forward to for the rest of the year.

The number of funds that raised money for venture capital in the first quarter of 2013 was fewer than any other quarter in the last 10 years, according to a new report by Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA).

Thirty-five funds contributed to venture capital fundraising last quarter, which is a 14 percent decrease in the number of funds from the final quarter of 2012. The slowest quarter in 2012 had 44 funds contributing and the slowest in 2011 had 48.

"The first quarter venture fundraising activity represents more than just a 'slow start' to the year and really demonstrates the contracting and consolidating nature of our asset class," head of research for NVCA John Taylor said in a statement. "We should be prepared for fewer funds in 2013, which will ultimately decrease investment levels from traditional firms."

Despite venture capital funding coming from fewer funds so far this year, the actual money being raised isn't that low. The 35 funds raised $4.1 billion during the first quarter, which is actually an increase of 22 percent over the fourth quarter of 2012, according to Thomson Reuters and NVCA.

The biggest funds were all from Massachusetts, including Battery Ventures X, which raised $650 million, Third Rock Ventures III, which raised $516 million, and Spark Capital IV, which raised $450 million.