U.S. venture capitalists were busy in 2012, raising overall investment activity for the year by 10 percent compared to 2011. Venture firms invested a total of $20.6 billion last year, according to data from Thompson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association.

Overall, there were 182 U.S. funds created throughout the year, which went down 3 percent in comparison to 2011’s funds. Thompson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association attribute a fund’s location to its incorporation location, not to the venture capital firm’s headquarters. Funding was at its lowest in 2012 during the fourth fiscal quarter. Only 42 funds invested $3.2 million in the fourth quarter. This isn’t typical for venture capitalists, but funding is fluid and difficult to predict.

Investing By Quarter

Investing dipped in 2009 to around $16 million invested for the year, compared with 2008, which hit more than $25 million. In July 2009, Down Jones Private Equity Analyst saidĀ investing was down 63 percent since 2003. But now it seems it has risen to the highest investing has been in four years.

Money Invested 2008-2012

In 2012, 55 new funds appeared. Thompson Reuters and NVCA consider a fund new only if the money is new. Investors involved are likely involved in previous funds. Overall, the top five venture capital funds led 55 percent of investing in 2012. These funds include Sequoia Capital Global Growth Fund, a $700 million fund, and Venture Lending and Leasing VII, a $373.1 million fund.

Charts created with data supplied in the report; Quarter image via Shutterstock