U.S. venture capitalists invested $28.3 billion in 3,808 deals last year, the first yearly decline in investments since 2003, according to the latest MoneyTree Report.
The decline was spread across all industries and companies with a few exceptions. Investments in clean technology companies rose 50 percent in 2008, and investments in seed stage companies -- very young companies -- received more money than they have since 2000.
Otherwise, investments in media and technology services companies were up, Internet investments were flat, and life sciences, software, telecommunications and semiconductor investments were down.
Six of the year's top 10 deals were in Bay Area companies -- all of them in clean technology. They include Nanosolar in San Jose, Solyndra in Fremont, OptiSolar in Hayward, BrightSource Energy in Oakland, Reardon Commerce in Foster City and Pacific Biosciences of California in Menlo Park.