Venture capital financing for Minnesota companies is up 51 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago. That’s according to the MoneyTree Report released Friday from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association based on data supplied by Thomson Reuters.
 
The new report shows that 11 Minnesota companies raised $67.3 million in venture capital financing in the first quarter. During the first quarter of 2015, there were just five deals that raised $44.5 million.
 
The MoneyTree report only tracks venture capital financing and does not include money raised through other methods such as angel investors or issuing debt.
 
The top two local deals of the quarter were Bloomington-based Ten K Solar, which makes “smart” solar panels with proprietary technology, and Minneapolis-based Zipnosis Inc., which has developed a platform for patients to quickly get medical advice with a smartphone or computer from a clinic that’s using the system.
 
In January, Ten K Solar announced completion of a $25.2 million round of financing, led by New York-based Goldman Sachs. Also in January, Zipnosis announced raising $17 million in its latest financing round. (The MoneyTree report lists $14.1 million for Zipnosis: the amount of venture capital raised in the deal. The $17 million tally includes some convertible notes that were also part of the financing round.)
 
Both Ten K Solar and Zipnosis were featured in the “Next Big Things” feature in the April issue of TCB.
 
Other deals included Minneapolis-based Gravie Inc., a broker that helps people shop for individual health plans, which raised $13.5 million during the first quarter. Minneapolis-based BiteSquad.com LLC, which delivers food from local restaurants, raised $5 million. In another deal, Minneapolis-based Four51 Inc., which makes a cloud-based B2B platform for online ordering, also raised $5 million.
 
In early April, Minneapolis-based Bright Health Inc., a health insurance startup, announced that it had raised $80 million in Series A funding. Because the deal was announced in April, it will be tallied in the second quarter numbers of the MoneyTree Report.
 
The report shows that 30 Minnesota deals attracted a total of $371.7 million in 2015, marking the best annual showing for the state since 2008. The low point during the recession was 2010 when Minnesota companies drew only $145.1 million. The high-water mark for venture financing in Minnesota was 2000, before the dot-com crash, when 107 deals raised $951.7 million.
 
Nationally, the MoneyTree Report found that companies raised $12.1 billion in 969 deals in the first quarter, marking the ninth consecutive quarter that deal volume topped $10 billion. But the amount of money raised in the first quarter nationally reflected an 11 percent drop from the total raised in the first quarter of 2015.
 
The largest deal for the U.S. during the first quarter was San Francisco-based Lyft Inc., a ride-sharing service, which raised $1 billion in venture capital financing.

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