2012 Venture Outlook: Some Bright Spots and Some Gloom

1/27/12Follow @bvbigelow

It’s that outlook time of year, and Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), was in San Diego earlier this week, talking about the 2012 outlook for venture capital. Today he’ll make a similar presentation to the New Jersey Technology Council. Next week,  John Taylor, the NVCA’s director of research is set to talk in Florida about the 2012 outlook.

Heesen began his presentation in San Diego by saying, “Be prepared for a roller coaster ride here, because that’s where we’ve been for the past year—and that’s where we’re going.”

In a conversation with Xconomy yesterday, Heesen talked about some of the broader trends he’s charting throughout the United States. Here are some of the takeaways from our talk, and from Heesen’s presentation in San Diego:

—The VC industry continues to contract. Venture capital investments in U.S. startups peaked in 2000, when VCs sank $99 billion into emerging companies of all kinds. There were 1,022 venture capital firms at that time, and they were collectively managing $220 billion worth of invested capital. In 2010, VCs invested more than $20 billion into startups of all kinds. The number of VCs had plunged by almost 55 percent—to 462 VC firms with $177 million under management.

—VCs are raising more capital from their limited partners, but it isn’t enough to sustain current investment levels. In 2011, U.S. venture firms raised a total of $18 billion. That was up significantly from the $14 billion that VCs raised in 2010—but it falls $10 billion short of covering the $28 billion that VC firms invested in 2011. As a result, Heesen says he expects venture investments in U.S. technology and life sciences companies to decline in 2012.

—A handful of VC firms accounted for … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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