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Bad News for Small Business: VC Investments Decline

November 15th, 2012 ::

By Maria Valdez Haubrich

Recently, we posted here about the growth in angel capital investments. Now, there’s some not-so-good news for small businesses about venture capital. The most recent MoneyTree survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association reports that in the third quarter of 2012, VC investments shrunk both in terms of overall dollars (down by 11 percent from the second quarter of 2012) and in terms of deal volume (down by 5 percent from the second quarter of 2012).

VC dollars and deals also declined year over year. What’s behind the shrinkage? PWC and the NCVA say that venture capitalists are exhibiting extreme caution with the capital they have available. Instead of making new investments, they’re focusing on the companies that are already in their portfolios. Compounding the problem, there are fewer new venture funds, which is cutting into the amount of capital that can be invested.

Of course, the bad news may not affect you if your small business is in an industry that finds it easier than average to attract venture capital. Here’s a closer look:

  • As of Q3 2012, software companies were still the most popular type of VC investment, accounting for $2.1 billion invested in 304 deals. (That’s still a 12 percent drop from Q2 2012, however).
  • Life sciences (which includes biotechnology and medical devices) investing increased in terms of dollars but declined in deal volume compared to Q2 2012.
  • Internet-specific investing (companies whose business model depends on the Internet, regardless of industry) declined by 12 percent in dollars and 8 percent in deal volume compared to Q2 2012.
  • The clean technology sector (alternative energy, pollution and recycling, power supplies and conservation) had a 20 percent decrease in dollars but a 2 percent increase in deal volume.
  • Financial services, healthcare services, business products and services, and retailing businesses saw increasing dollar amounts invested in Q3 compared to Q2.
  • In contrast, companies in the media and entertainment, semiconductors, telecommunications and IT services sectors all saw a decline.
  • Companies in the software, media and entertainment, and IT services industries received the most first-time rounds in Q3 2012.

Your industry isn’t the only thing that matters when you’re looking for VC investments. Where your business is located matters more than you might want to think. Over half (58 percent) of VC funding in Q3 2012 went to businesses in California, Massachusetts and New York.

Image by Flickr user Horia Varlan (Creative Commons)

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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