| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Jan 18 U.S. venture capitalists
invested $6.4 billion in start-up companies in the fourth
quarter, continuing a slowdown in spending, according to a
report from the National Venture Capital Association and
The $6.4 billion was spent across 968 deals. That represents
a 13 percent decline in dollar terms over the prior-year period.
For the full year, investments fell 10 percent to $26.52
Seed-stage companies -- those at the very earliest stages of
development -- saw a slight rise in investments for the quarter,
to $119.4 million, but an overall 38 percent drop for the year,
to $475.7 million. That is the lowest yearly total since 2003.
Funding seed-stage companies is generally considered
important for uncovering the future Googles, Facebooks
and other companies that eventually help build industries
and employ thousands.
Software continued to attract the most dollars, winning
$2.09 billion in investment last quarter, a slight gain over the
previous year, according to the report.
The second-biggest sector, biotechnology, attracted $1.29
billion, down six percent on a year ago, while most other
sectors also saw declines in the quarter.
Sectors that gained included medical devices and equipment,
where investment rose 12 percent to $581 million, and healthcare
services, which gained 150 percent to $143.3 million.
The single biggest venture deal of the quarter was a $155.9
million investment in biopharmaceutical company Intarcia
Therapeutics by New Enterprise Associates and others. For the
year, it was a $238 million investment in warranty company
SquareTrade by Bain Capital.
The report is based on data from Thomson Reuters.