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Friday, September 03, 2004Four years after the Internet bubble burst, the venture-capital industry is stirring back to life. Investments by venture firms rose 22 percent in the second quarter of this year, to $5.8 billion, from $4.7 billion a year earlier, according to the MoneyTree Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Venture Economics and the National Venture Capital Association.For all of 2004, analysts project an 11 percent increase in investments, to $20 billion, from $18 billion in 2003.That is a far cry from the $108 billion in the heady days of 1999, and nobody in the venture-capital business is predicting a return to that flood of cash.Venture capitalists cite several factors for the improving situation, starting with the reviving economy. Forecasts of increased technology spending by corporations are also fueling the uptick, they say. Then, there is the simple matter of time. After spending several post-bubble years licking their wounds and propping up existing companies in their portfolios, venture capitalists are finally looking around for new investment opportunities.As for entrepreneurs, many more are now willing to come forward with innovative ideas than during the years immediately after the Internet debacle. "Before, entrepreneurs were hunkered down, unwilling to take a risk in such a terrible environment," said Geoff Yang, a partner in Redpoint Ventures in Menlo Park, Calif. "But, now, they're coming out of hiding."
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