Keiretsu NW Invested $24M in 2011, Highest Ever in Region

2/1/12Follow @curtwoodward

The Northwest chapter of angel investment group Keiretsu Forum says its members invested $24 million in 36 companies last year, the highest total since the regional group was formed in 2005. And most of those investments—29 of the 36—were for businesses in the region, Keiretsu says. Nine of the investments were follow-on rounds, and 27 were new deals.

That’s a significant uptick from 2010, when Keiretsu reported just $8.9 million invested in 16 companies, an amount that was still billed at the time as “encouraging,” considering the ongoing economic turmoil. While the economy at large still hasn’t rebounded, technology ventures and angel investors are clearly seeing some optimistic signs.

One thing that stood out to me in perusing the statistics from Keiretsu was that a sizable chunk of these investments went to other investment funds, not startup companies—about half the money went into either real estate funds (38 percent, roughly $9 million) or alternative investment funds (11 percent, about $2.6 million). The rest broke down this way: Technology companies, 30 percent; consumer/retail, 16 percent; life sciences, 4 percent.

Keiretsu Forum Northwest—which encompasses the greater Seattle area along with Portland, OR and Boise, ID—has accounted for nearly $90 million in funding for about 150 companies since the regional chapter was founded in fall 2005. Chapter president Nathan McDonalds says 78 new members were added in the region during the last year.

Some of the Washington-based companies financed through Keiretsu included Atossa GeneticsCadence BiomedicalNanoICE, and Valant Medical Solutions.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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