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updated 7/21/2013 2:46:18 AM ET 2013-07-21T06:46:18

Venture-capital funding for U.S. companies fell sharply year-over-year in the second quarter, marking the lowest level of venture investment in three years.

In the second quarter, 801 U.S.-based companies raised $7.22 billion from VC firms, according to Dow Jones VentureSource, a research unit of News Corp. A year ago, 959 companies raised $8.91 billion. The level of VC investment last quarter marked the lowest level since the second quarter of 2010.

The number of Series A, or first-round, deals also fell, to 255 from 339 at the same time last year, according to VentureSource.

And, to round out the bad news, the median pre-money valuation for companies also fell sharply to $10 million from $14 million.

Dow Jones VentureSource cited a range of factors for the decline, including more caution for seed-stage companies, a sluggish fundraising environment for venture capitalists and less demand for consumer-focused Internet companies.

Information technology companies received the most funding in the second quarter, taking in $2.1 billion, or 29 percent of the total. Financial services and health care each took in 18 percent, according to VentureSource.

New York-based Internet retailer Fab took in the highest amount in a single funding round, getting $150 million in June to put the company's overall valuation at more than $1 billion. That deal was led by Chinese Internet company Tencent Holdings.

The second-largest funding was to ecommerce company Acumen Brands, of Fayetteville, Ark. It raised $83 million in a deal led by General Atlantic Partners.

There is a bright spot, though, amid the bad news on funding: Exits of existing deals through initial public offerings rose. Eighteen venture-backed companies held IPOs in the second quarter, according to VentureSource. That is double the number from the first quarter.

However, merger-and-acquisition activity among venture-backed companies fell slightly. There were 84 such deals in the second quarter, compared with 87 in the first quarter. The largest acquisition in the second quarter was Google's purchase of Waze for $1.3 billion.

Related: 15 Billion-Dollar Tech Startups

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