Venture capital firms invested $54.3 million in 10 Minnesota companies in the first quarter, up from $44.5 million in five transactions during the first quarter of 2015.

The figures are provided by the MoneyTree Report from Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) and the National Venture Capital Association, based on data provided by Thomson Reuters.

"The first quarter in Minnesota was slightly below average," said Mark Scholtes, a partner in the Minneapolis office of PwC who examines the numbers. "But the fourth-quarter results of last year were very high. The numbers are up and down mostly because of the timing of some of the deals."

Nationally, the value of deals was $12.1 billion, down 11 percent from the year-ago quarter.

Money went to 10 Minnesota companies in eight industries in the first quarter, a continued diversification from the state's traditional venture capital bastion of medical technology, which has been less dominant in recent years.

"We're in a good investment environment," Scholtes said. "I'm bullish on the rest of the year."

In January, TenKsolar announced completion of a $25.2 million round of financing.

It was led by the venture arm of Wall Street's Goldman Sachs and was the biggest take for a Minnesota firm so far this year.

Minneapolis-based BiteSquad.com, a restaurant-delivery service, raised $5 million.

And the second quarter appears off to a good start.

Minneapolis-based Gravie, which helps people shop for individual health plans, raised $13 million.

Also this month, Minneapolis-based Bright Health., a health insurance start-up headed by a former UnitedHealthcare executive, raised $80 million.

Last year, a surge of investments in the fourth quarter into companies such as Code42 ($85.6 million), Cardionomic ($20 million) and Zipnosis ($17 million) pushed venture capital investment in Minnesota companies to a postrecession record of $371.7 million.

The strong finish topped 2014, the next-best year at $359.8 million, according to PwC and the National Venture Capital Association.

As 2016 started out nationally, venture capitalists made 969 deals and the first quarter was the ninth quarter in a row in which investors in young U.S. companies have infused at least $10 billion in equity capital.

"While total venture investment activity didn't jump out of the gate as quickly as last year, it was still a strong first quarter for venture activity compared to recent years," Bobby Franklin, chief executive of the national venture association, said in a statement.