Venture capital investment in Los Angeles and Orange counties nearly tripled to $1.6 billion in the first quarter, according to the Money Tree report released Friday by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and the National Venture Capital Association.

The two-county region – which the report lumps together for comparison to other areas – saw a sharp increase from $560 million invested in the same period a year earlier, according to the report, based on data from Thomson Reuters. Seventy five companies received funding.

The Los Angeles metro region, which includes Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, received about $1.5 billion.

Space Exploration Technologies Inc., the Hawthorne company developing reusable rockets, received $1 billion, the most funding of any company in Southern California, including San Diego County. Tradesy.com, a Santa Monica-based clothes swapping website, was second highest in L.A. County with $30 million in funding.

Upfront Ventures, in Santa Monica, led the venture capital firms with the most deals at nine.

In the greater San Fernando Valley region, eight companies received venture funding. Seven Lakes Technologies Inc., a Westlake Village provider of software products for the oil and natural gas industry, led with $18.1 million. Sherman Oaks data analytics software developer Bottlenose Inc. received the second-most at $13.5 million.

Los Angeles and Orange counties received the second highest venture capital funding nationwide, but the totals were still dwarfed by the $6 billion going to Silicon Valley.

New England, centered around the tech community in Boston, and the New York metro area both received about $1.4 billion during the quarter. San Diego received about $270 million.