While the flow of venture capital to new businesses and startups is on the upswing nationwide, it continues to lag here in New Jersey.

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A report from the National Venture Capital Association shows startup investment is down 78 percent in New Jersey in this year's first quarter, compared with a year ago.

Rider University professor Maury Randall said while it's hard to pinpoint an exact cause, New Jersey in general has long been perceived as business-unfriendly because of over-regulation, high taxes and high labor costs.

"There are many competing states that are offering better deals or making it more attractive for new companies to start up," Randall said.

Unfortunately, one of the major laggards for venture investment in New Jersey recently has been biotech companies, which traditionally have been strong players in attracting beginning investment money.

By contrast, around the rest of the nation, venture capital investment in new startups hit its highest level in the first quarter since the year 2001. A lot of that movement was driven by software company investment.