money growing on trees.jpgFolks, venture capitalists are investing money at the sweetest terms since the fourth quarter of 2000 — which was shortly after the all-time high when the Internet bubble burst.

Now is the time to go raise your money for your start-up: Venture capitalists valued U.S.-based private companies at a median of $23 million while investing during the second quarter of this year, or $7 million more than the same quarter a year ago.

This comes from a report released yesterday about valuations by Dow Jones VentureOne, the publisher of VentureSource, a group that is probably doing the best research out there right now when it comes to venture capital (at least, in our view).

The jump in value means that you, as the entrepreneur, can take the cash from VCs and give away less ownership of your company to the VC — because their investment represents a smaller share.

A year or so ago, we said the timing was good. Now it is even better, and it could be a peak for a while (but we don’t know).

Here’s a summary of the survey’s findings:

–The jump “can be attributed to the significant values for second- and later-round deals in health care and key information technology segments.”

–“The increased opportunity for successful exits is clearly playing a role in the value of these companies. Venture capital firms tend to assign higher valuations to their portfolio companies when they see an active liquidity market, as is currently the case for acquisitions in IT and IPOs in healthcare.” (Note: Regarding acquistions in tech, we noted the recent moves by media companies to bolster acquisitions here — scroll down).

–“For example, acquisition prices for IT companies rose to a median of $60.4 million in the second quarter, which was the highest point in six years, thus driving up the value of still private companies.”

–“The median second-round health care valuation was $31.6 million in the second quarter, up from $15 million a year ago. Later-stage medical devices companies posted the highest valuations in the quarter, at $60.7 million, up from $38 million.”

–“The median second-round IT valuation was $22.5 million, up from $12.3 million in the second quarter of 2005. Within the IT category, the electronics, information services, and semiconductors segments all posted significant increases in valuations.”