WASHINGTON, DC, April 8 (Reuters) - Fundraising by U.S. venture-capital firms dropped 14 percent in dollar terms to $4.05 billion in the first quarter, marking a weak start for an industry that is fighting investor concerns about weak returns.
The firms raised just $4.05 billion, the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters said, marking a decline from both the fourth quarter and the year-earlier quarter.
Just 35 funds raised the cash, compared to 53 a year earlier. That is the smallest number of funds raising money since late 2003, the NVCA said.
Returns for venture capital generally have been underperforming the stock market. For the ten-year period ended Sept. 30, the latest available, venture capital returned 6.1 percent, compared to 10.3 percent for the Nasdaq composite index, according to consultancy Cambridge Associates.
Battery Ventures, known for information-technology investments such as content-delivery network Akamai Technologies, raised the largest new fund of the quarter, at $650 million. Third Rock Ventures followed with a $516 million fund, and Spark Capital raised a $450 million fund.