Venture capital investment plunges
SAN FRANCISCO - Venture capitalists cut their US investments in half during the spring, the second consecutive quarter to mark a more than 50 percent decline, leaving the money flowing to start-ups at the slowest trickle in 12 years.
Nearly $3.7 billion poured into 612 venture capital deals in the three months ended in June, according to statistics to be released today by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Reuters, and the National Venture Capital Association.
The dollars invested represented a 51 percent drop from more than $7.5 billion during the same period last year. The erosion followed the first quarter’s year-over-year decline of 58 percent to $3.2 billion.
Venture Capital also fell sharply in New England. Area companies received $467 million in the second quarter, down from $826 million a year earlier. Meanwhile, the number of deals in the quarter fell from 128 to 76 over the same period. Life sciences companies accounted for more than half the money raised locally.
Nationally, it’s the first time US venture capitalists have invested less than $7 billion during the first half of a year since they anted up $6.5 billion from January through June in 1997.
Venture capitalists have become more cautious as the recession has unfolded. The horrible economy has made it tougher for start-ups to complete initial public offerings of stock or find buyers. The paucity of IPOs and buyouts has made it increasingly difficult for venture capitalists to cash out of their existing investments, giving them less incentive to finance new deals.
“We desperately need the IPO market to come back, but I’m not looking for it yet,’’ said David Jones Jr. of Chrysalis Ventures in Louisville, Ky.
Biotechnology received the most venture capital in the quarter at $888 million. Venture capitalists are still gravitating toward biotechnology because large pharmaceutical companies remain interested in buying start-ups that are developing promising drugs.