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Best Q1 in Years for VC-Backed IPOs

Hiring is stronger. Markets continue their ascent, virtually unfettered by political unrest and a natural disaster. And on the venture capital front, signs of improvement are also in the air.

The first quarter marked the best annual start for venture-backed IPOs since 2007, according to a report released today by Thomson Reuters, the publisher of this Web site, and the National Venture Capital Association. And although initially I was suspicious of a report coming on out on April 1 and stating something positive about the IPO market, it seems the data is in fact accurate.

Fourteen venture-backed IPOs valued at $1.4 billion came to market in the first quarter of 2011 — a 47% increase in terms of dollars raised and a 56% increase by number of deals, compared to the first quarter of 2010. Ten of this quarter’s offerings were from companies based in the United States, with one based in the Netherlands and three based in China.

Netherlands-based InterXion NV (INXN), a data center provider, was the largest offering this quarter, raising $264.9 million on the NYSE. Beijing-based Qihoo 360 Technology Co (QIHU), a provider of internet and mobile security products, raised $175.6 million on the NYSE on March 30th, and was the second largest IPO in the Information Technology sector. Gevo Inc (GEVO), an Englewood, Colorado-based biotechnology company, raised $107.3 million on NASDAQ in February, ranking as the biggest venture-backed IPO in the Life Sciences sector during the first quarter.

M&A numbers were pretty too. For the first quarter, 109 completed venture-backed M&A deals were reported, 45 which had an aggregate deal value of $5.9 billion, according to the report.