Business

Angel investment in start-ups continues climbing

Funding for the earliest stage companies by angel investors hit $22.9 billion last year, a 1.8 percent bump over 2011, but the total number of individuals willing to risk money by backing the earliest stage companies fell by 15.8 percent.

While fewer angel investors, or wealthy individuals who fund new companies, were active last year, the ones who did invest spent more, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire, which released its annual angel investment report on Thursday.

The average investment amount climbed to $85,435 for 2012, a 20.9 percent jump compared with $70,690 in 2011.

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Many more female investors were active in 2012, according to the report.. The percentage of women involved in the sector increased to 21.8 percent in 2012.

In all, 268,160 angel investors backed 67,030 ventures, adding 274,800 new jobs to the economy last year, according to the center, which has been researching the angel investment market since the 1980s.

Michael B. Farrell can be reached at michael.farrell@globe.com.