VC exits in the US at 31-year low

The year 2008 saw the fewest number of private companies going public in the US since 1977, according to Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA).

The quarterly poll reports just six VC-backed IPO exits during the entire year, and none whatsoever in Q4. It was the smallest number of IPOs since 1977.

Just 260 mergers and acquisitions (M&As) occurred in 2008, making it the first year since 2003 when there were less than 300 venture-backed acquisitions.

'The most significant impact of the US financial crisis on the venture capital industry has clearly taken place in the exit markets," said Mark Heesen, president of the NVCA.

"The inability of our strongest companies to go public and the softening of acquisitions activity continue to have a major ripple effect that now reaches every stage of the venture investment lifecycle."

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