Upstart Florida companies attracted $301.4 million in venture capital last year, falling just short of the record set in 1997, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers' latest Money Tree Survey.
The 1998 total was about $56.7 million, or 16 percent short of the $358.1 million poured into the state the year before, and the number of deals also declined in that time, from 64 to 49.
Some of those investments were larger than usual, however. The biggest deal recorded by PricewaterhouseCoopers for 1998 occurred in the fourth quarter, when a Tampa communications company received $33 million in start-up funding.
Florida's decline ran contrary to venture capital …