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Quiz: The State of New England Venture

There’s a lot of talk these days—well, always, really—about the state of venture capital in New England. A lot of it centers on comparisons with Silicon Valley VCs, and most of it isn’t good. Some common complaints or accusations:

—New England venture capitalists don’t take risks.
—They don’t invest in early stage ventures.
—They are hardly investing at all these days.
—They are increasingly investing outside New England.

Sorting out all the truths and fictions associated with such ideas would take some time, and a lot of data. So to get my hands on at least a little data, I’ve been speaking with Michael Greeley, general partner with Boston’s Flybridge Capital Partners and chairman of the New England Venture Capital Association. He shared some interesting stats from queries he ran on a database of the NEVCA’s 137 member firms that get at some of these issues. His team also passed along data from an Ernst & Young report on the venture industry that had some regional data.

To see how far perceptions have or haven’t diverged from reality, I’ve boiled all that data down to five questions—which I offer here in the form of a quiz for you to take. The questions don’t necessarily get directly at the charges and complaints above, but the answers definitely shed light on them—and, I think, the venture industry as a whole. So take your best guesses, and tomorrow we’ll publish the correct answers, with some context and commentary.

Question No. 1:

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Question No. 2:

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Question No. 3:

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Question No. 4:

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And the final question:

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Again, the answers and some discussion will come tomorrow. I stress that this is meant as a fun little quiz and I’m well aware that these few data points alone don’t say a whole lot about the health of the venture investment system. But I’d love your comments on what you think it all means, as well as ideas for other and better questions to ask.

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