Sundrop Fuels leads state in 3Q venture capital

Two Boulder County companies led all Colorado firms in raising venture capital in the third quarter.

Sundrop Fuels Inc. in Longmont topped every other company in the state, raising $56.3 million in the third quarter to fund its effort to build and run a biofuel refinery. Oak Investment Partners and an undisclosed firm made the investment.

Accera Inc., a Broomfield company that makes medical food to treat Alzheimer’s patients, raised $18.4 million, putting it at No. 3 on the list of Colorado firms raising venture capital in the quarter from July through September. An undisclosed firm made the investment. The information comes from a MoneyTree Report compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, based on data supplied by Thomson Reuters.

Sixteen of the 28 companies in Colorado that raised venture capital in the quarter were from Boulder or Broomfield counties. Those 16 companies raised $74.6 million of the $180.8 million raised in Colorado — a little less than half of the total for the state.

“It’s always been an area where entrepreneurship has been fostered and grown,” Keith Parsons, lead technology partner for the Rockies market for PricewaterhouseCoopers, said of the strength of companies in Boulder and Broomfield counties. “There’s a lot of support in our (state) ecosystem in regards to startup companies.”

Nationally, venture capitalists invested $6.5 billion in 890 deals in the third quarter, according to the MoneyTree report. Quarterly investment activity declined 11 percent in terms of dollars compared with the second quarter of 2012, however, when $7.3 billion was invested in 935 companies.

Colorado bucked the trend of declining investment. It was one of only two states — along with Pennsylvania — where venture-capital investment rose in the third quarter, Parsons said. Colorado also was the fifth-largest recipient of venture capital in the third quarter of any state.

“Those positive trends are a positive for our state,” Parsons said.

Nationally, the software industry received the highest level of funding for all industries. Software companies drew $2.1 billion in 304 deals in the third quarter. The life-sciences industry, 181 companies — including biotechnology and medical device companies — landed $1.7 billion, according to the MoneyTree report.

Investing in Internet-specific companies was $1.7 billion in deals going to 250 companies, according to the report. The clean technology sector — generally seen as all renewable energy-related companies — saw $791 million going to 58 companies during the third quarter.

Nationally, the number of startup companies receiving venture-capital financing for the first time declined 8 percent in dollars in the third quarter. Venture capitalists invested $1 billion in 297 companies.

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