As VC’s Go Green: Venture Backed IPO’s Hit 30 Year Low


Nothing to Offer

By Kyle Austin

While technology start-ups still point to the general weakness of financial markets as the reasoning behind not going public; new findings by the National Venture Capital Association may indicate a larger trend in where VC’s are allocating their investors’ dollars.

As Matt Richtel of the New York Times reported on Saturday:

“In the second quarter of this year not a single company backed by venture capitalists has gone public. It is the first time that has happened since 1978, according to a venture capital industry group.”

According to Nancy Pfund, a VC at DBL Investors in San Francisco, the economic slump is playing the biggest role in drying up public offerings:

“Wall Street is being very selective in taking companies public, and blessing only those with particularly high revenue and growth projections. And venture capitalists are wary because they worry that their returns will be limited in a depressed market.”

Today’s Wall Street Journal story by Lynn Cowan echoes the decline in IPO’s and illustrates that industry experts don’t expect the rest of the summer to be any different:

“The Outlook for the rest of the summer is similarly grim. Major stock indexes around the world fell this month, and bankers believe worries about rising energy prices and inflation, as well as banks needing capital, will continue to spook investors, who tend to avoid new stocks during times of uncertainty.”

While the broad overlook for the IPO market may be grim there are signs that investments in “green” start-ups are growing. In fact the money now being allocated towards “GreenTech” or “CleanTech” companies may be one of the key contributing factors in drying up the current IPO market – as Richtel notes in his piece and Katie Fehrenbacher expands upon for her piece on earth2tech:

“The pipeline for public offerings has dried up in part because of the considerable shift in the industry’s interest in the last three years into “green” technologies, which was taking time to bear fruit.”

In the Cambridge and Boston area “GreenTech” start-ups including Mascoma, GreatPoint Energy and GreenFuel have seen investments from (patient) investors including General Catalyst Partners, Polaris Ventures, Khosla Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

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