Venture capital flowed almost equally to both startups and later-stage companies during the second quarter, according to the MoneyTree Survey...

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Venture capital flowed almost equally to both startups and later-stage companies during the second quarter, according to the MoneyTree Survey being released today.

The trend is called “The Barbell Effect” because “the focus of the activity is on two ends of the spectrum,” said John Taylor, the National Venture Capital Association’s vice president of research.

He said two factors are behind this polarization: Investors are finding later-stage deals attractive as these companies prepare for public offerings or acquisition, and many venture capitalists have raised new money and are investing in new companies.

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The MoneyTree Survey, being released by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Venture Economics and the National Venture Capital Association, found overall that $5.8 billion was invested in U.S. companies during the quarter, including $179 million in Washington state.

Yesterday, Ernst & Young and VentureOne issued a similar report. That report said U.S. companies raised $5.4 billion, about $232 million in Washington.

Results differ because the reports use different methodologies.

The MoneyTree results found that the money flow in Washington reflected national trends. While $60.6 million in the state went to startup and early-stage companies (typically, those that have yet to record sales), later-stage companies (those with widely available products and services) received virtually the same amount — $60.8 million.

Shanda Bahles, a general partner at Menlo Park, Calif.-based El Dorado Ventures, said early-stage investing is picking up because experienced entrepreneurs are willing to leave comfortable jobs at big companies to start new ventures.

“From where we sit, we see a lot of talented teams out there with the passion and the risk profile to start something new,” she said.

Seattle-based SeaMobile, an early-stage company developing wireless services on cruise ships and other vessels, received $2.75 million from Ignition Partners and other investors during the second quarter, according to the survey.

Many of SeaMobile’s executives come from wireless carriers in the area, including Bellevue-based Western Wireless, the former McCaw Cellular Communications and Cingular Wireless.

The board is equally stacked with former Microsoft employees and Nextel Partners executives.

“We are an early-stage company with lots of experience,” said Nancy Brumfield, SeaMobile’s vice president of marketing.

“I would say it is easier [to raise capital] for a couple of reasons,” she said. “There’s more investment capital available today … and what makes it easier in this case is that we’ve all worked together before. We rely on one another, and we are very confident we can do it again.”

Tricia Duryee: 206-464-3283 or tduryee@seattletimes.com