Venture capitalists in the third quarter invested $445.7 million in 53 projects in the region that includes Maryland, Virginia and Washington, more than double the amount for the quarter last year, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers' MoneyTree Report released Friday.

It also is the first time in a few years that the region's third quarter was stronger than the second quarter, which tends to be most robust, said Brad Phillips, director of emerging company services at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Venture capitalists poured $420 million into 30 projects in the second quarter.

Nationally, venture capitalists invested $7.8 billion in 1,005 deals for the third quarter, with the software industry receiving $3.6 billion for 420 deals. A year ago, $6.63 billion was invested in 937 projects.

Phillips said venture capital investing is strong nationally because of the robust initial public offering market. "Venture capitalist want to get in early so they don't get locked out of a deal," he said.