Venture capital funding trends continue to be a good-news, bad-news situation.

During the second quarter of the year, VCs nationwide invested $6.7 billion in 913 deals -- both upticks compared to the first quarter. That's according to the latest MoneyTree Report, prepared by the National Venture Capital Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers using data from Thomson Reuters.

But hearken back to 2012, and the picture looks quite a bit different -- especially in the Bay Area, which traditionally leads the nation in VC funding.

The $2.7 billion invested here last quarter was substantially below the $3.4 billion of a year ago, when investor fervor hit its peak ahead of the Facebook IPO.

Cause for alarm? Not according to John Taylor, who heads research for the venture capital association.

Taylor noted that funding ticks up and down from quarter to quarter. And even though VCs nationwide invested less over the first six months of the year than in the same time period last year or in 2011, Taylor isn't fretting.

"This is a very difficult fundraising environment, and we know some funds are starting to get stretched in terms of what they can invest," Taylor said. "But the biggest funds still have money to spend."

Looking at the latest numbers, Taylor and others were especially struck by the popularity of software deals. Software companies reaped 40 percent of all venture investment in the quarter, which Taylor called a record-high level.

"It's been strengthening the past few years," he said, noting that in the late 1990s, software's share was about 20 percent.

The strength of software and another traditional heavyweight sector, biotech, helped offset the fact that funding dipped in eight of the 17 industry sectors the MoneyTree Report tracks.

Computer hardware and semiconductors were among those in decline. And cleantech continues to tank, with its sixth straight quarter of funding declines.

Contact Peter Delevett at 408-271-3638. Follow him at Twitter.com/mercwiretap.