Internet companies dominate top 10 Q2 network venture deals

Software and services are the big money takers

Venture funding for networking companies took a small dive in the second quarter, but a few innovative Internet, wireless and hardware vendors raised boatloads of cash from investors.

There were 401 investment rounds totaling US$2.68 billion in the second quarter, according to data provided to Network World by PricewaterhouseCoopers, author of the quarterly MoneyTree Report. That's the lowest dollar amount for network companies in any quarter since 2006, but not by much. Total investments have remained steady between US$2.5 billion and $3 billion for 15 consecutive quarters.

"This quarter's not really that much out of whack with what you're seeing in previous years," says Tracy Lefteroff, global managing partner of the venture capital practice at Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

Software and services are the main targets of investors, he notes. Hardware companies, such as those making routers and fiber-optic cables, are suffering because enterprises have limited capital budgets. Customers are focusing on "providing applications over the existing backbone," he says. "Capital equipment cycles haven't recovered."

Software-as-a-service and other Internet-related companies dominated the top 10 venture deals of the second quarter, with a few wireless and hardware vendors also cracking the top ten. Here's the full list:

1. Rearden Commerce

Description: Maker of a Web-based productivity tool that manages the "everyday details" of work and personal life, as well as a mobile service for business travelers.

Funding: US$100 million

Investors: Foundation Capital, Oak Investment Partners, undisclosed firm

2. Fingerhut Direct Marketing

Description: An e-commerce destination selling electronics, jewelry, home items and products in numerous other categories.

Funding: US$55.9 million

Investors: Bain Capital Ventures, Battery Ventures, L.P.,Brookside International Incorporated, Goldman, Sachs & Co., three undisclosed firms.

3. GreatCall

Description: Maker of "Jitterbug" cell phones, a simplified phone for the elderly.

Funding: US$38 million

Investors: Charles River Ventures, Court Square Ventures, Nauta Capital, Steelpoint Capital Partners, Sumitomo Corporation.

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