After two down years, venture capital investment in Colorado roared back in 2011, with early-stage investments driving a big chunk of the growth.

In 2010, 72 Colorado companies closed 88 deals for $483 million.

We’re starting to see a lot more of that capital go into early-stage companies, which is a very positive sign that venture capitalists are starting to allow little more risk in their portfolio,” said Keith Parsons, lead partner for PricewaterhouseCoopersColorado Technology and Cleantech practice.

Last year, $270 million in funding went into early-stage Colorado companies, compared with $133 million in 2010.

Industrial/energy and software companies dominated 2011 investments in the state, garnering $360 million combined.

Denver-based Inflection Energy, an oil and gas exploration and production company, secured the largest round of funding among Colorado firms with $40 million.

Though investments increased for the year, fourth-quarter funding in Colorado dropped to $166 million from $238 million during the same period in 2010.