U.S. venture capital raised $4.1 billion in Q1 2010, up 41 percent year-over-year, according to Dow Jones. Thirty-four funds were raised last quarter, compared to 25 in Q1 2009. Multi-stage funds had the most activity, raising

$3.1 billion in the first quarter, representing 76 percent of all capital raised. Sixteen early-stage funds were raised, totaling $605 million, a drop of 36 percent year-over-year.

“Limited partners are hedging their bets by choosing multi-stage funds," said Jennifer Rossa, Managing Editor, Dow Jones Private Equity Analyst. "They are reluctant to dive too heavily into early-stage funds which can take longer to produce returns or later-stage funds which will remain unattractive until the liquidity markets hit their stride again.”

Only one late-stage fund raised venture capital last quarter, netting $400 million, a 17 percent drop year-over-year. But overall, VC trends are positive.

"Venture is showing an up tick from a very low level. This performance is also thanks to established firms locking in sizable closes," Rossa said.

Last week, the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) announced (PDF) that last quarter was the best for venture-backed IPOs since Q4 2007 and the best for venture-backed M&A exits on record.

There were 9 venture-backed IPOs and 111 venture-backed M&A transactions. The average IPO last quarter was $104 million, and in total $936.2 million was made in IPOs. Last quarter’s M&A exits averaged $180.2 million, up 21 percent over 2009.

The total amount of Q1 2010 M&A exits was $5.6 billion.

By Mark Alvarez