Venture capital investment in UK and Irish technology companies is at its highest level in a decade, according to the latest data from corporate finance firm Ascendant.

Just over £1 billion of venture capital was invested in 2012, which is the most money spent since the £1.9 billion invested in 2001.

The figure is some 28 percent more than what was invested in 2011, and last year also saw the number of deals over £500,000 increase by 20 percent from 193 to 232. 

The internet and wireless sector received the most investment, with some £456 million, which was followed by ‘clean tech’ (£280 million) and software (£106 million).

In recent months the coalition government has placed a heavy emphasis on the technology sector, which it believes will provide stable growth and jobs for the future. Much of this has focused on investments in London’s start-up scene in the east end, which has been dubbed ‘Tech City’.

At the end of last month seven start-ups, focusing on a range of cloud, security and analytics technologies, were selected to take part in the Accenture-led FinTech Innovation Lab London project.

The firms will occupy a Canary Wharf start-up accelerator called Level 39 and will receive senior level mentoring from financial services, venture capital and angel investment firms.