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Here’s some evidence that the venture capital market is red hot, perhaps too much so at least when it comes to those early-stage companies raising money for the first time.

According to a new report released by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, early-stage startups are raising venture capital financing rounds at significantly higher valuations than in previous quarters. The report — based on venture financing deals in which Wilson Sonsini played a role — found that the median pre-money valuation for companies completing a first round of financing during the fourth quarter stood at $8 million.

That was up from $5.6 million for the previous quarter and $4 million during the fourth quarter of 2010.

The median amount raised for series A deals also increased during the fourth quarter, jumping to $2 million. Meanwhile, so-called “up rounds” (in which valuations increase over the previous round) represented 73 percent of all venture deals tracked by Wilson Sonsini. That’s a significant increase from the first part of 2009 (as you can see in the accompanying chart).

“While there may be concerns that valuations have reached unsustainable levels, we continue to see robust investment activity in 2012, which would be further supported by continued improvement and stability in the exit markets,” the authors of the report wrote.

Before we start talking in detail about another venture capital bubble, it is worth noting that not all stages of companies are seeing robust growth in valuations. In fact, the median pre-money valuations of series B companies actually declined during the fourth quarter, dropping to $12.3 million. That was down from $18 million in the previous quarter and $17.6 million during the fourth quarter of 2010.

Later-stage financing deals, however, saw significant gains with a pre-money valuation of $75.8 million. That was up from $36.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2010.

[Editor’s note: Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is a GeekWire partner].

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