Jump in Number of Angel Investors Led Investment Dollars Higher Last Year

A significant jump in the number of angel investors led to a healthy increase in the amount of angel dollars going to startups last year, the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Venture Research found in its semi annual study of the marketplace.

Active angel investors came to 318,480 individuals last year, up 20% from 2010, the center’s study found. Total investment dollars climbed 12.1% to $22.5 billion, with 66,230 startups receiving money, an increase of 7.3%.

With total dollars up 12.1% and the number of deals up 7.3%, average deal size rose 4.7% from 2010, center Director Jeffrey Sohl said in a press release. “It appears that an optimism in angel investing is taking hold.”

Sohl said the study suggests that angels are not only increasing their investment activity, but are committing more dollars to deals resulting from higher valuations.

Software was the top investment category with 23% of investments, followed by healthcare services and devices, with 19%. Industrial and energy investments, and biotech investments each got 13% of the total.

Investments in seed-stage companies rose as a percentage of the whole as angels pulled back on funding early and expansion-stage companies. Early and expansion-stage investing was 55% of the total, compared with 67% in 2010.