Angel investment is down slightly, according to a new study.

I’ve always had trouble describing angel investors because they seem so hard to define. Somewhere between the high-end friends and family investment and the low-end venture capital you have the angel investors. They’re mostly individuals, but they frequently group into venture groups. Back in the early Silicon Valley days we used the phrase “doctors and dentists” before “angel investors” became more popular.

Today’s National Dialogue on Entrepreneurship weekly newsletter reports on the University of New Hampshire angel investor report for the first half of this year. Investments are down slightly, both in number of deals and total money invested.

Both deal size (down 4%) and the number of investors (down 10%) also dropped. Finally, the number of deals (24,000) is also a slight dip (down 2%) from 2006. Angel investors are still America’s largest source of seed and start-up capital, but even angels are beginning to look at later stage deals with more dollars going to post-seed stages. Finally, the study contains some interesting demographic data. Women now account for 13% of angel investors, while minority angels make up 5% of the total.

Before you become discouraged and despondent, your venture, your effort to raise capital and your relationship with real or potential angel investors isn’t determined by these larger numbers. You still have the same deal as you did last week, when the members of the Angel Capital Association were reporting an increase in quantity and quality of investment proposals. These are different sources, with different conclusions. There are still several hundred thousand angel investors around.

For the full information, you can download the Center for Venture Research’s ¬ďAngel Investor Market full report.

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.