Shrinking Venture Capital

Article on the state of VC's in the TImes:

Many in the industry predict that a third to a half of the 882 active venture capital firms could disappear, if only because poor returns will force underperforming firms to shut down. It is already happening: Investment in venture capital funds shrank to $4.3 billion in the first quarter, from $7.1 billion in the same quarter a year ago.

There will be “a ton of venture capitalists who disappear over the next 18 to 20 months, and it’s going to be painful for a while,” said Bryan Roberts, a partner at Venrock. “But the best thing that could have happened to V.C. is this economic crisis, because it’s lowering the flow of capital into these funds.”

The source of concern is lower returns brought on in part by a dearth of public stock offerings. Five-year returns in the venture capital industry, which reached 48 percent in 2000 at the height of the dot-com bubble, were just 6 percent through 2008, according to the National Venture Capital Association.