For the third quarter, at least, a somewhat consistent picture of venture activity in New England can be gleaned from the numbers. The technology sector has been strong, and the life science sector is doing reasonably well, but cleantech continues to lag. To some extent these results can be explained by a combination of how capital intensive the investments are and what the opportunities for exit (or early exit) might be. Of the three sectors we focus on, technology requires the smallest investments and has the greatest opportunities for early exit and cleantech requires the largest investments and has the fewest opportunities for exit.
The dominance of smaller shorter term investments may well reflect the economic mood and uncertainty of the times. On the one hand, the sheer number of these investments suggests that there was (and maybe still is) a frothy investment atmosphere for these types of companies. On the other hand, the weaker interest in life science investments and the almost non-existent interest in cleantech suggest a basic lack of confidence in the longer term future of IPO and big M&A exits.
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