Say No to Plastic Negative Zone

Research report: July 2010
Venture Capital
Now and After the Dotcom Crash
Yannis Pierrakis
2
NESTA is the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.
Our aim is to transform the UK's capacity for innovation. We invest in
early-stage companies, inform innovation policy and encourage a culture
that helps innovation to flourish.
Venture Capital
Now and After the Dotcom Crash
Foreword
The future prosperity of the UK depends on the country's ability to foster and support growth
businesses. The venture capital industry is ideally placed to be a cornerstone of this support and,
though younger than the US industry, UK funds have already had some notable successes.
The financial crisis has hit all aspects of the private equity market hard, and this report shows
that venture capital is no exception. With investment and fundraising slumping, it would be easy
to become disheartened but our research highlights some promising signs. Successful exits have
yielded good returns for funds even in the current recession; a good pipeline of investments
initiated between 2004 and 2007 should bear fruit over the coming years and the introduction of
the Innovation Investment Fund should help encourage investment in new businesses over the
next few years. This year looks set to be tough but the industry has demonstrated its ability to work
together to get the right level of funding to the very best growth businesses.
This work is part of a series of research projects led by NESTA which complements our own practical
experience of running a venture capital fund targeted at early-stage companies.
As ever, we welcome your views.
Matthew Mead
Managing Director, NESTA Investments
July, 2010
3
Executive summary
High growth, innovative companies are
disproportionately important for economic
growth in the UK. Venture capital is an
important source of finance for these
companies, one of the few sources with
an appetite for risk that matches the
uncertainty that comes with pioneering,
innovative ventures and the ability to provide
management support to take a company from
initial proof of concept to mass market growth.
This has seen venture capital act as a catalyst
for new industries and ground-breaking global
companies.
And yet, the venture capital industry in the
UK has been in a period of decline. This has
been particularly true for early-stage venture
capital as NESTA outlined last year. This report
provides an update on the venture capital
market in 2009, examines similarities and
differences between the current crisis and
the one triggered by the dotcom crash and
considers prospects for a recovery.
The venture capital industry saw further
entrenchment in 2009 across all areas.
Investment activity has now seen an overall
40 per cent reduction over the past two years,
the number of exits has fallen by 40 per cent
and fundraising fell by over 50 per cent (both
in terms of the number of new funds and total
amounts raised).
The current crisis appears to have compounded
issues that the venture capital industry was
already facing following the dotcom crash.
Two features particularly stand out about the
venture capital market now:
• Fundraising in 2009 was the lowest seen
in the past decade. Both the dotcom and
financial crises resulted in a significant
reduction in the number of new venture
capital funds established. However current
fundraising activity is considerably lower
than levels seen after the dotcom crash and
consequently it is at the lowest level seen in
the last decade.
• The time taken to successfully exit,
through a flotation or acquisition, is
getting longer. Across the world, the time
taken to successfully exit through flotation
now averages almost seven and a half years,
the longest time seen over the past two
decades. This global trend is reflected in the
UK market. This obviously has knock-on
impacts on returns which leads to making it
harder for funds to attract more money in
order to be able to invest in new companies.
The situation now would be far worse without
public funding. Public funds hardly featured in
the dotcom era but now they participate in 40
per cent of all venture capital deals and 56 per
cent of all early-stage deals.
Even, at this stage, the fundamentals of the
UK venture capital market appear to be sound,
illustrated by the fact that funds are exiting
companies with good returns in this recession.
The recovery of the venture capital industry
hinges on exits. As the economy recovers, and
the merger and acquisition market returns,
fund performance should stabilise and improve.
The venture capital market appears to be
well placed now. Following the dotcom crash,
significant amounts of capital were invested
in a large number of new companies (between
2004 and 2007). These investments should
bear fruit over the next few years and as funds
successfully exit these companies, limited
partner confidence in venture capital as a
profitable asset class will return.
4
Acknowledgements
The author would like to thank those who reviewed the report, particularly
Shantha Shanmugalingam and Albert Bravo-Biosca for their valuable contributions.
5
Contents
Venture Capital
Now and After the Dotcom Crash
Part 1: Introduction 7
Part 2: Investment activity over the last decade 9
Part 3: Investment activity within individual sectors 18
Part 4: Fundraising activity over the last decade 22
Part 5: Conclusions 24
Appendices
Appendix 1: Methodology and data analysis 26
Appendix 2: Variables 27
Appendix 3: Regression analysis 29
Appendix 4: Tables and figures 34
List of Figures
Figure 1: Early-stage venture capital investments as a proportion of GDP per country, 2008 8
Figure 2: Venture capital investments, number of companies by stage, 2000-2009 10
Figure 3: Venture capital investments, amount invested by stage (£m), 2000-2009 10
Figure 4: Venture capital deals by source, 2000-2009 11
Figure 5: Early Stage venture capital deals by source, 2000-2009 12
Figure 6: Number of exited companies, UK, 2000-2009 13
Figure 7: Average time (in years) to exit through IPOs, 1990-2009, all countries 13
Figure 8: Average time (in years) from initial investment to exit through IPOs and M&A, 14
2000-2009, UK
Figure 9: Years to exit, median and dispersion 15
Figure 10: Average total amounts raised by companies and number of funding rounds before 15
exit, 2000-2009
Figure 11: Median cash in-to-valuation multiples for UK exited companies by sector, 16
2000-2009
Figure 12: Multiples by year, 2000-2009 17
Figure 13: Investments by industry 2009, number of companies 18
6
Figure 14: Investments by industry 2009, amounts invested 18
Figure 15: Investments by industry and by round, 2009 19
Figure 16: Median amount of investment by source of finance and industry, 2009 19
Figure 17: Proportion of exits by industry, 2000-2009 20
Figure 18: Average time (in years) from initial investment to exit through IPOs and M&A 21
by industry, 2000-2009, UK
Figure 19: Number of funds closed by stage, 2000-2009 23
Figure 20: Amounts raised by stage, 2000-2009 23
Figure 21: Proportion of amounts invested by stage (£m), 2000-2009 36
Figure 22: Proportion of number of deals by stage, 2000-2009 37
Figure 23: Cash in-to-valuation multiples, 2000-2009 – Number of deals 40
List of Tables
Table 1: Gross IRR by percentile, 2000-2009 17
Table 2: Panel A: Deal level analysis 30
Table 3: Panel B: Company level analysis 31
Table 4: Early-stage investments by year and type of investor, 2000-2009 34
Table 5: Descriptive statistics – Time to exit (only exited companies with all available 34
transaction data)
Table 6: Industry categorisation 35
Table 7: Exits by type, 2000-2009 36
Table 8: Fundraising activity, 2000-2009 37
Table 9: Descriptive statistics – Total amounts raised and financing rounds for exited 38
companies, 2000-09
Table 10: Descriptive statistics – Cash in-to-valuation multiples 38
Table 11: Tests for differences in the means of years to exit for UK-based venture 39
capital-backed companies, 2000-2009
Table 12: Variable description 39
Part 1: Introduction
The creation and development of high-growth
businesses is vital to the future of the UK
economy, because it is these businesses, and
the entrepreneurs who create them, that are
particularly suited to taking advantage of
emerging technologies, novel business models,
and new markets as well. For these companies
to thrive, they need a financial architecture
which offers multiple pools of capital with
different appetites for risk.
Venture capital – whereby capital is provided
to the company in return for a shareholding
in the business with the aim of generating a
return through a trade sale or flotation – is
an important component of this financial
architecture, capable of nurturing of high-tech,
high-potential companies. The positive impacts
of venture capital funding can be seen in the
disproportionate number of patents and new
technologies generated by venture capitalbacked
firms. These firms bring more radical
innovations to market faster,1 and are more
likely to spawn new industries.2
Venture capital in the UK
Currently, after France, the UK boasts the
second largest venture capital market in
Europe, accounting for 21 per cent of all
invested amounts.3 The UK performs worse
when only early-stage investments are
considered, lagging behind Switzerland,
Sweden and the US (Figure 1).
This comparatively low level of early-stage
investments highlights one of the dominant
trends in the UK venture capital market in
the last decade, namely the shift of funding
towards larger deals and more established
companies. Venture capital has benefited little
from the explosion in the value of private
equity investments, which trebled between
2003 and 2007 from £4 billion to nearly £12
billion.4 Where expansion has occurred in
the venture capital market, this has typically
been driven by an expansion in later-stage
investments rather than early-stage.
The dearth of early-stage funding by private
providers has prompted several UK government
initiatives to improve access to finance for
small high-growth firms. The government
has attempted to address the supply-side
problem by setting up a series of new funds,
such as the High Technology Fund (2000),
the University Challenge Funds (1999-
2001), the Regional Venture Capital Funds
(2002), the Early Growth Funds (2004) and,
more recently, the Enterprise Capital Funds
(2005). These funds followed a variety of tax
incentives to individuals and corporations that
were introduced in the mid 1990s to draw
more capital into the venture capital market,
including the Enterprise Investment Scheme
(1994), the Venture Capital Trust (1995) and
the Corporate Venture Scheme (2000).
The current downturn spurred the introduction
of the Innovation Investment Fund to support
the provision of early-stage finance to new,
promising firms. This new government-backed
fund of funds initiative was established in
response to the impact of the recession on
the venture capital industry. First, falling stock
markets and poorer trading environments have
made it harder for funds to sell or float their
existing investments. Second, several limited
partners suffering from liquidity problems have
been unable to fund further investments. Third,
several institutional investors have reduced
their exposure to the venture capital market
7
1. Kortum, S. and Lerner,
J. (2000) Assessing the
contribution of venture capital
to innovation. 'RAND Journal
of Economics.' Vol. 31, No.
4, Winter 2000, pp.674-692;
Hellman, T. and Puri, M.
(2002) Venture capital and
the professionalisation of
startups: Empirical Evidence.
'Journal of Finance.' 57,
pp.169-197; Kaplan, S. and
Stromberg, P. (2001) Financial
contracting meets the real
world: an empirical analysis
of venture capital contracts.
'Review of Economic Studies.'
2002, pp.1-35.
2. See Bygrave, W.B. and
Timmons, J.A. (1992)
'Venture Capital at the
Crossroads.' Cambridge,
MA: Harvard Business
School Press; and Timmons,
A.J. and Spinelli, S. (2003)
'New Venture Creation,
Entrepreneurship for the 21st
Century.' New York: McGraw-
Hill.
3. EVCA data for 2009, venture
capital investments include
seed, start-up and later-stage
venture. It excludes growth
capital, rescue/turnaround,
replacement capital and
buyouts. According to EVCA,
in 2007, VC investments
accounted for €2.14 billion in
the UK, €1.12 billion in France
and €890 million in Germany;
in 2008, €1.66 billion in the
UK, €1.08 billion in France
and €1.04 billion in Germany;
in 2009, €854 million in the
UK, €896 million in France
and €669 million in Germany.
4. In contrast, the number of
companies that received
private equity investment
has remained fairly stable at
around 1,300 over the same
period (BVCA Investments
Activity report, various years).
while others are leaving the early-stage market
altogether.5
With the current recession beginning to ease,
this is a timely opportunity to examine how the
venture capital industry faired last year both in
terms of investment activity and fundraising.
Additionally, examining how this crisis
compares to the one that followed the dotcom
crash also helps inform when a recovery might
begin.
8
5. NESTA (2009) 'Reshaping
the UK economy.' London:
NESTA.
Switzerland
Sweden
United States
United Kingdom
Norway
Netherlands
Denmark
Portugal
Finland
Belgium
France
EU (15 countries)
Germany
Ireland
Spain
Italy
0 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05 0.06
Early stage investments
Figure 1: Early-stage venture capital investments as a proportion of GDP per country, 2008
Source: Eurostat
Part 2: Investment activity over the last decade
The financial crisis, which began in earnest in
2008, continued to severely impact venture
capital investment activity in 2009. Every part
of the industry saw retrenchment, from deal
activity to time to exit.
Comparison of the current and the dotcom
crises highlights that investment activity has
reached some of the lowest levels seen in
the last decade, with seed and early-stage
financing continuing to be particularly hard hit.
In parallel, the time taken to exit companies
has grown over the last two decades, last year
hitting a historic high.
Investments activity by venture capital
continued to decline in 2009
In 2009, the number of investments made by
venture capital companies fell by 17 per cent
compared with 2008. Only 266 companies
received investments in 2009, down from 322
in 2008 (Figure 2). As a result, the amount
invested by venture capital funds in UK
companies was only £677 million in 2009, a
drop of 27 per cent compared with the year
before, when £930 million was invested (Figure
3). This follows significant falls in activity in
2008.6
Venture capital funds have tended to focus
their investments on their existing portfolio
companies, so there was only a modest fall
in follow-up funding. Instead, 2009 was a
particulary difficult year for new companies
seeking venture capital finance for the first
time. Seed and first round financing suffered
a sharp drop of 53 per cent in total amounts
invested and 29 per cent in terms of the
number of companies backed since 2008.
Investment activity is lower now than
after the dotcom crash, with seed and
first round funding being particularly
hard hit
The collapse in investment activity in the
current downturn has left the total number of
companies receiving investment during this
crash at the lowest level of the decade, even
lower than that observed after the dotcom
crash. Comparison between the two crises
highlights some key findings:
• In the two-year period 2007-2009, the
number of companies receiving venture
capital finance decreased by 38 per cent
while the total amount invested fell by 37
per cent.7 By comparison, there was a more
radical decrease between 2000-2002 where
the number of recipient companies fell by 54
per cent while total investment was 77 per
cent lower by 2002.
• With the start of the financial crisis (2008)
the number of investments fell back
dramatically to 2002 levels, dropping in
2009 to the lowest level of the decade. Total
amounts invested in 2009 were broadly
similar to that seen in 2003 (Figure 3).
• In both crises, seed and first round
investments (first-time financing) have been
extremely volatile. Between 2007-2009, total
investment in seed and first round companies
decreased by 58 per cent with 52 per cent
fewer companies backed. A more severe
drop was experienced between 2000-2002
where amounts invested dropped by 90 per
cent and first stage-financed companies
fell by 73 per cent. The volatility of firsttime
financing is clear as well if the full
decade is considered. In 'good years' they
9
6. BVCA reports on an annual
basis the UK venture capital
activity of its members. For
2009, BVCA reported a drop
of 18 per cent in amounts
invested and 15 per cent in
terms of number of deals
(BVCA Investments Activity
2009), broadly similar
trends to those observed
in the analysis above. The
discrepancy in the reported
figures may be explained by
slightly different definitions
of venture capital used and
by the origin country of the
investment.
7. BVCA figures suggest a drop
of 32 per cent in terms of
amounts invested and 23
per cent in the number of
companies backed during the
same period.
10
Figure 2: Venture capital investments, number of companies by stage, 2000-2009
Figure 3: Venture capital investments, amount invested by stage (£m), 2000-2009
900
800
700
600
500
400
300
200
100
0
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Later Round Second Round First Round Seed Round
Number of
companies
4500
4000
3500
3000
2500
2000
1500
1000
500
0
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Later Round Second Round First Round Seed Round
Amounts
invested
(£m)
Source: VentureSource Dow Jones
Source: VentureSource Dow Jones
tend to account for the majority of deals,
peaking with 70 per cent in 2000 and 60
per cent in 2006, while in the 'bad years'
it falls, reaching the bottom in 2003 and
2009 with around 42 per cent (Figure 22 in
appendices). Later stages rounds tend to be
larger, so they have consistently attracted the
largest share of investment funding, with the
exception of 2000 and 2006 when earlystage
activity peaked.
Sustained levels of publicly backed
investments
Publicly backed funds have become
increasingly important over the past decade:
they participated in 42 per cent of all venture
capital deals in 2009.8 Since 2005, there has
been a broadly stable representation of the
public sector in the venture capital market,
after a significant increase in the portion
of deals that are publicly backed following
the dotcom crash (Figure 4). In 2002, deals
involving a publicly backed fund counted for
over 20 per cent of all deals while their share
doubled to over 40 per cent by 2009. This
has been driven both by falls in private sector
funding and increases in government funding.
Public funding is particularly prominent in
early-stage funding.9 Only 20 per cent of all
early-stage investments had public backing
in 2000. Since then the increase in publicly
backed deals saw funding peaking at 68 per
cent of all early-stage investments in 2008.
The proportion has since fallen back a little: in
2009, 56 per cent of all early-stage deals had
public backing (Figure 5).
This fall does not signal the return of private
investments into the early-stage market, rather
it reflects many government-backed schemes
coming to an end (e.g Regional Venture Capital
Funds) and the newly established ones (e.g.
UK Innovation Investment Fund) not yet being
fully operational (see Table 4 in appendices).
Many publicly backed funds only co-invest
with private funds and a decrease in private
venture capital activity will naturally decrease
the activity of those funds too.
11
8. Although not reported here,
publicly backed funds were
involved in deals that counted
for 21 per cent of all invested
amounts in 2009.
9. We define early-stage deals
as investments involving
amounts below £2 million and
in funding rounds 1, 2 or 3.
Figure 4: Venture capital deals by source, 2000-2009
Source: for the years 2000-2008 Library House and for 2009 VentureSource Dow Jones, Thomson One and desk research
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Deals made by private & other funds Public/private co-investment deals
Percentage
Business angels have partially stepped in
Analysis of business angel investors reveals that
over the last decade they have become more
significant in both absolute and relative terms.10
Each year between 2005 and 2008, they were
involved in more than 40 per cent of all deals
in which public sector funds participated.11
Although the actual number of Business Angel
involvement in venture capital deals decreased
in 2009 following the overall trend in the
market, they continue to be important coinvestment
partners.
Deals in which one or more Business Angels
participated were two and a half million pounds
smaller than deals made by private funds
solely.12 This trend is seen even when angels
invest in later stages.
The total number of exits has fallen,
while the time taken to exit has
lengthened
The number of exits, either through public
flotation or acquisition, has been decreasing
each year since the peak in 2006 with 215 exits
(Figure 6). This has dropped even further in the
current recession, with only 74 exits in 2009.
This is in line with the trends also identified
in the US venture capital market.13 The fall
precedes the financial crisis, so it is likely to
partly reflect the decline in investments after
the dotcom crash.
The time it takes for a company to go from
initial investment to IPO exit has lengthened
around the world since 2000. At the peak of
the Asian crisis in 1997 the average time to
exit through flotation reaching close to seven
years and then it dropped to three years during
the dotcom boom before increasing once
again to five to six years in the dotcom crash
period (Figure 6).14 But the time to exit has
lengthened even further in the latest crisis with
the average time hitting an historic high of 7.4
years in 2009. The median time to exit (which
is less affected by extreme values) has been
less volatile but suggests a bigger increase in
the time to exit between the 1990s and the
current financial crisis (Figure 7).
Data for UK-based exits through acquisitions
is only available after 2000. Analysis of these
data confirms the phenomenon of lengthening
times to exit through flotation and acquisitions
(Figure 8).
12
10. Mason, C. and Pierrakis,
Y. (2009) 'Venture Capital,
the regions and public
policy.' Hunter Centre for
Entrepreneurship Working
Paper 09-02. Glasgow:
Strathclyde University.
11. Ibid.
12. See Table 2 in appendices.
13. NVCA/PwC (2008) 'The
exit slowdown and the
new venture capital
landscape.' Arlington,
VA: National Venture
Capital Association and
PricewaterhouseCoopers.
14. Investment activity
before 2000 is not as well
documented as for more
recent times. The analysis
presented for this period
focuses mainly on IPOs. Data
before 2000 for UK-based
companies are somehow
patchy. Although years to
exit through an IPO may
be slightly different from
the years to exit through an
acquisition, it provides some
evidence of the time that
a company needed to exit
before 2000.
Figure 5: Early-stage venture capital deals by source, 2000-2009
Source: for the years 2000-2008 Library House and for 2009 VentureSource Dow Jones, Thomson One and desk research
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Deals made by private & other funds Public/private co-investment deals
Percentage
13
Figure 6: Number of exited companies, UK, 2000-2009
Figure 7: Average time (in years) to exit through IPOs, 1990-2009, all countries
Source: VentureSource Dow Jones
Source: Thomson One
250
200
150
100
50
0
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Number
of exited
companies
M&A IPOs
9
8
7
6
4
5
3
2
1
0
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Years
VC average time to exit VC median time to exit
15. See Table 11 in appendices.
UK-based companies that exited in 2008 and
those in 2009 needed over three more years
to exit on average than companies that exited
in 2000.15 The sample average life cycle from
initial invest to exit was 5.7 years; in 2008 it
was over 6.2 years, the highest level of the
decade. Time to exit is growing but this is
part of a longer trend in the venture capital
industry. The dotcom crisis had a severe impact
on the length of time needed to gain a return,
with an annual increase of 27 per cent in the
time to exit in 2002 and 2003. In contrast, the
change was only 8 per cent in 2008. However
in absolute terms, the change was seven to
nine months in 2002 and 2003 and five months
in 2008 as the time to exit was already high.
There is more uncertainty on how long
it will take to exit an investment
Further analysis reveals that it is not only the
time to exit that has increased throughout the
decade, but there is also greater uncertainty on
the expected time to exit. Between 2000 and
2003 there was little dispersion on the time to
exit for different investments, with all values
concentrated around the median (the blue
boxes in Figure 9, which length indicates that
the difference between the percentiles 25 and
75 of the distribution were narrow). This is not
true anymore. In recent years, particularly since
2007, there is a greater uncertainty about the
time it would take to realise a return (the blue
boxes in Figure 9 were higher).
Overall this suggests that it now takes longer
for investors to realise a return and there is
less certainty about how long it will take them
to do so. This will affect strategy planning for
venture capital funds.
Companies require more rounds of
funding before reaching the exit stage
During the dotcom crash years (2001-2003),
companies raised on average around £10
million in approximately three funding rounds
before flotation or acquisition (Figure 10).
Since 2007, the total amounts have been
decreasing while the number of funding rounds
14
Figure 8: Average time (in years) from initial investment to exit through IPOs and M&A,
2000-2009, UK
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2007 2008 2009
Average time to exit
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
2006
Years
2.61 2.32
2.95
3.74
4.41
4.90
5.77 5.72
6.19
5.70
15
Figure 9: Years to exit, median and dispersion
Figure 10: Average total amounts raised by companies and number of funding rounds
before exit, 2000-2009
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
0 5 10 15
Year to exit
20
18
16
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
4.5
5.0
4.0
3.5
3.0
2.5
2.0
1.5
1.0
0.5
0
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Amounts
(£m)
Number
of rounds
Average amounts raised (no IPOs)
Average number of rounds
3.56
2.80
3.24
3.31
3.98 4.05 3.96 3.90
11.7
8.3
9.4 9.0
12.1
12.9
14.1 13.7
8.1
17.9
4.35
3.94
Source: VentureSource Dow Jones
received before exit have started to edge up. In
2009, exited companies raised on average £8
million in four funding rounds.
But firms that were successful at
exiting during the recession generated
favourable returns for their investors
An encouraging picture emerges when returns
that funds make from their investments
are considered.16 Following a dip after the
dotcom crisis, return multiples have recovered
(Figure 11). This trend – which is statistically
significant17 – has not been impacted strongly
by the recent financial crisis which suggests
that returns have been fairly stable for those
companies which have managed to exit over
this time. This suggests that during the dotcom
crisis companies were of lower quality and
subsequently achieved lower returns, while
instead the quality of the companies being
exited in the financial crisis has not been
affected.
During the last decade 54 per cent of the UK
exits recovered between one and five times
the amount invested, while 10 per cent of exits
returned five to ten times their invested capital.
There were approximately 9 per cent homeruns,
investments in which the venture capital funds
made more than ten times what they had put
in. In contrast, 27 per cent of the exits returned
less capital than was initially invested.18
In the last two years there has been a fall in
the number of exits, but those that have exited
have seen stable multiples. This is in contrast
with the years that followed the dotcom crash,
when the main issue appears to have been the
quality of the underlying portfolio. This trend is
supported by examining IRR data (Table 1).
16
16. Information regarding cash
in-to-valuation multiples
and gross internal rates
of return (IRR) is scarce.
Thus, a limitation of this
analysis is that we only
consider the small number
of exited companies with
all transaction details and
post-valuations disclosed,
especially for the years 2008
and 2009.
17. See Table 3, Panel B,
columns (v) and (vi).
18. See Figure 23 in appendices.
Figure 11: Median cash in-to-valuation multiples for UK exited companies by sector, 2000-
2009
* There was no sufficient number of ICT exits in our sample for the year 2006 and 2008
5
4.5
4
3.5
3
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.5
0
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Multiples
Consumer and Business Healthcare and Medical ICT Total
17
Table 1 provides an overview of the investment
return expressed as Gross Internal Rate
of Return (IRR) by exited companies per
percentile and per year. Note that this is not
the fund level performance IRR but simply
the IRR by exited companies. There are big
variations in the company returns. Since 2002,
the top 25 percent of companies experienced
returns of between 50 per cent and 78 per
cent while the median size of returns has been
between 17 per cent and 34 per cent.
Table 1: Gross IRR by percentile, 2000-2009
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
N Valid 45 25 21 21 48 51 25 29 15 14
Percentiles 10 115% -45% -68% 0% -8% -14% -1% 0% -7% 0%
25 173% 0% -2% 0% 0% 0% 2% 0% 0% 0%
50 (median) 429% 44% 0% 17% 26% 29% 34% 19% 25% 18%
75 7,177% 1,977% 59% 78% 68% 58% 72% 53% 50% 67%
The returns are annualised
Figure 12: Multiples by year, 2000-09
Note: The numbers in the columns represent the numbers of exits included
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Percentage
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
>10.1 5.1_10 1.1_5 <1
6
8
31
2
4
6
8
8
2
8
13
1
2
12
6
3
1
32
16
2
3
31
14
3
1
13
8
3
2
17
8
3
3
5
5
3
1
5
3
Part 3: Investment activity within individual sectors
Individual sectors have their own
characteristics, and this is also true when
it comes to venture capital financing for
companies in different industries. Our analysis
of venture capital activity in 2009 within
sectors highlights that ICT still dominates
venture capital investments and energy
investments received higher levels of funding.
Healthcare companies that exited between
2000-2009, received on average £3 million
more funds per funding round and needed nine
months more to exit compared with companies
operating in the Consumer and Business
sector.19
ICT continues to dominate venture
capital investments
In 2009, ICT continued to attract the largest
proportion of investments followed by
Consumer and Businesses and Healthcare
and Medical industries with 26 per cent and
18
19. See Table 2 and Table 3 in
appendices.
Figure 13: Investments by industry
2009, number of companies
22% 26%
40%
12%
Consumer and Business
Energy and Other
ICT
Healthcare and Medical
Figure 14: Investments by industry
2009, amounts invested
Consumer and Business
Energy and Other
ICT
Healthcare and Medical
20%
21%
32%
27%
19
Figure 16: Median amount of investment by source of finance and industry, 2009
Figure 15: Investments by industry and by round, 2009
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
Consumer and Business Energy and other ICT Healthcare and Medical
Amount (£m)
Private Public Business Angel
160
140
120
100
80
60
40
20
0
Round1 Round2 Round3 Round4 Round5 Round6
Energy and Other ICT Healthcare and Medical Consumer and Business
Number
of deals
22 per cent respectively (Figure 13). Energy
and others received 12 per cent.20 Energy
investments required significantly larger deal
sizes, twice the level of all the other sectors
considered.
Consumer and Business companies received
fewer later-stage rounds compared with other
sectors while Healthcare and Medical received
the most in proportional terms (Figure 15).
Around 76 per cent of all investments in the
Consumer and Business sector were in first or
second round deals, 70 per cent in Energy and
Environment, 67 per cent in ICT and only 60
per cent in Medical and Healthcare.
Both business angel and public funds are active
in all sectors, though their contributions to
each sector varies (Figure 16).
Variations in time to exit between
sectors exist, but are not large
Examining exits by sector as a proportion
of overall exits suggests that there have
been more exits in Healthcare and Medical
companies in recent years, reflecting the
increasing investments trend in Healthcare and
Medical companies (Figure 17). In contrast,
exits in Consumer and Businesses have been
gradually decreasing as a proportion of all
exits.
Examining time to exits for the different sectors
highlights some differences. For example,
venture capital funds take nine months
longer longer to exit from Health and Medical
companies compared with Consumer and
Businesses companies (see Figure 18 Table 3
and Table 5 in appendices).
20. For industry description see
Table 6 in appendices.
20
Figure 17: Proportion of exits by industry
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Percentage
ICT Healthcare and Medical Consumer and Business Energy and Other
21
Figure 18: Average time (in years) from initial investment to exit through IPOs and M&A
by industry, 2000-2009, UK
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Medical and Healthcare ICT Consumer and Businesses
Years 3.65
2.93
2.94
2.07
2.05
1.64
4.91
2.90
2.31
4.89
5.32
6.06
5.62
5.71
6.57
5.44
5.01
5.34
6.93
6.73
6.19
5.81
5.83
4.59
4.38
4.12
4.10
3.83
3.70
3.51
Part 4: Fundraising activity over the last decade
Examining fundraising activity gives an insight
into market confidence and the prospects for
a recovery in investment activity. Previous
research published by NESTA highlighted
that the situation in the UK was beginning
to become quite constrained. Only 39 funds
actively invested in the early-stage space over
the last five years, and the current set of funds
were largely tapped out.21
The picture emerging from 2009 does not
suggest that growth will return quickly to
the UK venture capital market. The trend of
declining fundraising seen since the dotcom
crash continues with both the number of new
funds and total invested seeing drops of over
50 per cent in the last year. Public funding
remains an important contributor towards
fundraising. Without this funding, the earlystage
market would be in a particularly perilous
state.
Venture capital fundraising has been
acutely hit by the recent crisis
Long-term issues may be developing as
fundraising continues to be weak (Figure 19
and Figure 20). The decrease in fundraising
activity that the market experienced in 2009
is significant. Only 11 funds (nine new and
two existing) were able to raise capital in 2009
compared with 22 (20 new and two existing)
in 2008 (a 50 per cent drop) raising a total of
£573.6 million, down from £1,613 million in
2008 (a drop of 64 per cent).
The number of funds closed fell from 106
funds worth £6,409 million in 2000 to 37 funds
raising £919.5 million in 2002, representing
a decrease of 65 per cent for the number of
funds and 86 per cent on the amounts raised.
However these falls were from a far higher level
of fundraising than that seen in the recent
crisis.
Early-stage funds have also been severely
affected, falling from eight funds in 2008
to four funds in 2009 raising £128 million
in 2009 compared to £329 million the year
before (a drop of 50 per cent and 61 per cent
respectively).
The lack of distributions that limited
partnerships have received from existing
investments (and other allocations issues
arising from the market turmoil) means that
they have less capital available to commit
to new funds; and although the majority
of investors will be active in 2010, they are
anticipated to invest less than in recent years.22
22
21. NESTA (2009) 'Reshaping
the UK Economy.' London:
NESTA.
22. AltAssets, 13 Jan Newsletter.
120
100
80
60
40
20
0
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Number
of funds
Later stage Development Expansion
Balanced Stage Early Stage Seed
23
Figure 19: Number of funds raising capital by stage, 2000-2009
Figure 20: Amounts raised by stage, 2000-2009
Source: Thomson One
Source: Thomson One
7000
6000
5000
4000
3000
2000
1000
0
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Amounts
raised (£m)
Later stage Development Expansion
Balanced Stage Early Stage Seed
Part 5: Conclusions
The current financial crisis, while it originated
outside the industry, has been particularly
hard felt by the venture capital industry. More
pessimistic prospects for their venture capitalbacked
companies, less welcoming exit markets
and a tight funding environment have all
contributed to the retrenchment of all elements
of the industry in 2009. Amounts invested fell
by around 27 per cent over the past year, the
number of exits either through public flotation
or acquisition has dropped by 40 per cent and
fundraising fell by over 50 per cent (both in
terms of the number of new funds and total
invested).
The dotcom crisis had a different origin,
triggered as it was by over-exuberant
assumptions on the speed of internet
development, but also deeply impacted the
venture capital industry. Examining the two
crises shows some similarities – in the dotcom
crisis, as in the financial crisis, there was a
significant reduction in investments after the
crisis. The venture capital market suffered
contractions for two years in a row, with earlystage
investments the first to be cut back, in
both recessions.
But there are important differences.
• Fundraising in 2009 is the lowest in the
past decade. Both the dotcom and financial
crises resulted in a significant reduction in
the number of new venture capital funds
established. However current fundraising
activity is considerably lower than levels seen
after the dotcom crash and consequently the
lowest levels seen in the last decade.
• The situation now would be far worse
without public funding. Public funds hardly
featured in dotcom era venture capital. Now
they participate in around 40 per cent of all
venture capital deals. Public policy matters in
this area.
• It is taking longer for investors to see
returns on their investment. Across the
world, the time taken to successfully exit
through flotation now averages almost seven
and a half years, the longest time seen over
the past two decades. This global trend is
reflected in the UK market. This obviously
has knock-on impacts on a fund's ability to
invest in new companies.
• Even with all this gloom, the
fundamentals of the UK venture capital
market appear sound. Funds are still
capable of exiting good companies, with
returns much stronger than they were
immediately after the dotcom. Even if funds
had hoped for better returns from these
companies, their exits allow track records to
be developed which will enable new funds to
be raised. Additionally venture capital funds
are delivering companies to exit with lower
total capital invested than in previous years.
When is a recovery likely?
Following the dotcom crisis, the venture capital
industry underwent two years of contraction
before recovering. This pattern was seen both
in terms of investment activity and fundraising.
The current recession has now seen two
years of contraction. However, there is little
evidence to suggest that activity will increase
significantly during 2010, especially for seed
and early-stage companies. The key differences
between the current and last venture capital
24
25
crisis highlight why a recovery appears unlikely
in the next few months.
• First, fundraising activity is very low and
venture capital funds are already largely
tapped out. Fundraising recovery precedes
investments, as seen with the increase in
early-stage fundraising in 2003, which led
to higher investments activity in 2004. The
continued downturn of fundraising in 2009
does not bode well for a near-term recovery.
• Second, it is taking longer than ever for
investors to realise returns. Leading venture
capital funds are concentrating on their
existing portfolios, rather than searching for
new business opportunities. Low levels of
stock market activity coupled with decreasing
numbers of mergers and acquisitions suggest
that UK venture capital-backed companies
face continuing difficulties in identifying
ways of exiting. Without clear exit routes,
funds will continue to preserve their existing
portfolio.
The launch of the UK Innovation Investment
Fund earlier this year should bolster the
venture capital industry. As funding kicks in,
investments are anticipated to be made over
the course of the year. The impact of public
funds, and a gradual recovery of the UK
economy, may result in the venture capital
market beginning to recover towards the end
of the year and a mild upturn in investments
activity in 2011.
The key to the recovery of the industry will be
driven by economic financial stability resulting
in a more active M&A market and greater
confidence of investors allocating a percentage
of their portfolios towards venture capital.
The 'recovery years' between 2004 and 2007
following the dotcom crash saw an increase in
new investments that should be ripening for
exit over the next few years. This will give the
best performing venture capital funds the track
record they need to raise new funds.
Appendix 1: Methodology and data analysis
The study draws information on investments
from commercially available databases.
Though no commercial database provides
total population coverage of venture capital
investments made to UK companies, the
study assumes these databases provide a
representative sample of the population.
For the purpose of this study, VentureSource
Dow Jones, Thomson One Private Equity
and Library House (now absorbed into
VentureSource Dow Jones) are the main
sources of data. These databases provide
disaggregated data on investments and
enable analysis of particular characteristics of
deals, such as name of company that received
finance, stage and source of finance and
industry focus.
26
Appendix 2: Variables
Venture capital investments
Data on investments activity, number of
deals and amounts invested, are presented
by funding rounds (seed rounds, first and
second rounds and later-stage rounds) and by
year.23 Aggregated data have been obtained by
VentureSource Dow Jones.
Fundraising activity is assessed by the total
number of funds and amounts raised by
venture capital firms in a given year. The
Thomson One database has been used
to collect aggregated data by stage of
development. Data are reported in five stages:
seed, early-stage, expansion, development and
later-stage.24
Publicly backed investments
For the years 2000 to 2008, figures of public
investments were obtained from previously
published NESTA reports.25 For 2009, two
commercial databases, VentureSource and
Thomson One, have been merged for the
purpose of this analysis. Desk research,
supported by interviews, was used to identify
all venture capital funds that received public
money have been identified.26
The type of investment has been separated
into two categories:
• Those involving one or more private sector
investors. This category primarily captures
venture capital firms. It also identifies
investments made by some types of Business
Angels, specifically investor networks (e.g.
angel syndicates), family offices and named
and un-named high net worth individuals.
Because of their size, these investments
are much more visible than those of typical
Business Angels. However, a key limitation
of the data is that investments by Business
Angels are only identified where they have
co-invested with either private or public
sector funds. Investments made by individual
angel investors or syndicates by themselves
will not be captured here.
• Those involving one or more publicly backed
funds (e.g. Regional Venture Capital Funds,
University Challenge Funds, Enterprise
Capital Funds). These are funds that have
received some or all of their capital from the
public sector, including central government
departments, regional development agencies
and the European Union (e.g. European
Regional Development Fund). They are
normally managed by independent fund
managers.
Venture capital investments have been
also partitioned into early-stage; equal to
investments made for amounts equal or less
than £2 million, in founding rounds 1, 2 or 3.
The £2 million cap has been used as it has been
identified by government as the main area of
market failure.27
Industry categorisation
The two databases (VentureSource and
Thomson One) provide industry classifications
which do not entirely match, and are narrow.
To overcome this issue, four new industry
categories have been created and all subsectors
were grouped under these new
categories (Consumer and Businesses, ICT,
Medical and Healthcare and Energy and
27
23. VentureSource classifies
equity rounds as follows.
Seed rounds: are initial
rounds invested in
companies at very early
stages of development,
typically with the founders
and product developers such
as engineers or molecular
biologists on board,
but without a complete
management team in place.
First Round, Second Round:
this ordinal nomenclature
is used to describe most
venture rounds. Companies
often refer to financing
rounds as 'first', 'second',
'third' etc. even though the
legal term for the transaction
as stated in closing
documents and amendments
to the documents of
incorporation may refer to
them as series A preferred,
series B common, etc.
Later Stage: 3rd, 4th, 5th,
6th, 7th, 8th, 9th. Later:
VentureSource classifies all
equity rounds subsequent
to the second round as later
rounds.
24. Thomson One provides the
following classification.
Early Stage: this stage
describes funds that make
investments into portfolio
companies after the Seed
Stage/Start-up for product
development, initial
marketing, manufacturing
and sales activities. Seed
Stage: this stage describes
funds that make investments
in newly formed companies
thereby helping a company's
founders to develop and
design a product or service.
Expansion: expansion stage
funds invest into portfolio
companies that have
products and services that
are currently available, and
require additional capital
to expand production
to increase revenue.
Development: this stage
describes funds that are
managed by firms that
belong to the business
development group.
Business development
funds make investments
into portfolio companies
whose primary objective
is to increase investments,
employment, and revenue
to a regional geographic
area. Later Stage: this stage
describes funds that make
investments into portfolio
companies that have an
already established product
or service that has already
generated revenue, but
may not be making a profit.
Later stage funds make the
last round of investments in
portfolio companies before
an exit in the form of an IPO
or acquisition by a strategic
partner.
25. NESTA (2008) 'Shifting
Sands.' London: NESTA;
and NESTA (2008) 'Venture
capital fundraising activity.
London: NESTA.
26. This includes funds that are
100 per cent publicly backed
e.g. NESTA and those that
receive finance through a
government scheme such as
RVCFs, ECFs etc.
27. Almeida Capital (2005) 'A
Mapping Study of Venture
Capital Provision to SMEs
in England and Wales.'
Sheffield: Small Business
Service.
Other). For a detailed analysis of the industries
by sub-sector, see Table 6 in appendices.
Exits
Exits are defined as mergers, acquisitions,
asset acquisitions and IPOs. The VentureSource
Dow Jones database has been used to
conduct this analysis. In the study sample,
acquisitions are the dominant exit path.28 To
calculate the time to exit, only companies
that had information for all their transaction
dates from first investment to exit have been
included. Therefore, exited companies with
missing transaction date information have
been excluded from the study sample. In
several cases information provided only for the
date of the exit and no previous transaction
information were available. The study sample
contains over 3,000 investment transactions for
approximately 800 venture-backed firms that
were exited between 2000 and 2009.
Time to exit
The 'time to exit' for each company that exited
with all information of transactions disclosed
has been calculated as the duration (in years)
from the date of the first investment to this
company (seed round, individual investment,
first venture capital investment) until the date
of its first acquisition, asset acquisition, IPO or
merger. It is worth noting that Thomson One
captures only a limited number of investments
made by individuals and therefore the most
likely form of first investment in the database
is first round venture capital investment.29
Therefore, the figures reported here may not
be necessarily representative when the very
first investment comes from a Business Angel.
Returns
Beyond the dates of the funding rounds, the
identity of the investors, type of investment
and type of exit, VentureSource Dow Jones
often provides post-valuation information. For
exited companies with detailed information
for all amounts raised prior to exit and postvaluations,
two performance indicators have
been constructed.
As a substitute to the return multiples,
an indicative value has been used. This is
expressed as the ratio of the total cash inflows
to the post-valuation for each exited company.
When calculating return multiples, IPOs
have been treated as exits and the amounts
raised through an IPO are not included. The
International Private Equity and Venture Capital
Valuation Guidelines30 for calculating return
multiples have not been adhered to where
there is insufficient information. However these
ratios can be used as an indication of venture
capital performance investments over time.
In order to control for the effect of time on
financial returns, the gross internal rate of
returns (IRRs), which provides the return for a
schedule of cash flows that is not necessarily
periodic, has been calculated as follows: all
cash flows that corresponded to a schedule of
payments in dates have been captured. The
first payment corresponds to a cost or payment
that occurs at the beginning of the investment
and all succeeding payments are discounted
based on a 365-day year.
The total funds that a company raises before
exit have also been measured. Total amount
raised is the sum of all invested amounts to
a given company. IPOs are treated as exits
and therefore amounts raised through an IPO
are excluded. Individual invested amounts,
complete transaction details and post-valuation
data were obtained from VentureSource Dow
Jones.
28
28. See Table 7 in appendices.
29. Initial investment from an
individual represented only
8 per cent of the exited
companies in our sample.
30. The Guidelines were
developed by the
Association Française des
Investisseurs en Capital
(AFIC), the British Venture
Capital Association (BVCA)
and the European Private
Equity and Venture Capital
Association (EVCA) and were
launched in March 2005.
29
Appendix 3: Regression analysis
Regression analysis has been conducted in
order to explore whether the relationships
uncovered by visually examining the data
were statistically significant as well as not
just driven by other factors not captured by
the graphs. Several regression models have
been estimated to analyse the impact of
the financial crisis on the VC industry while
accounting for characteristics of the investment
deal, the VC source and the industry. Using
regression analysis, the effect of the financial
crisis on the average amount of funds raised
in each funding round, the time to exit and
the financial return on investment have been
measured.
The size of individual deal per round has
been compared on a set of dummies for the
source of finance, time since last investment,
round number, industry dummies and year of
investment (Panel A). At the company level,
the impact of the same variables to the time
that a company needs to exit has also been
examined (Panel B). Financial return indicators
(cash in-to-valuation multiples and gross
IRR) have been regressed on variables such
as the number of rounds and the time to exit,
controlling for a set of dummies for different
years of investment (first and last investment
(Panel B)). All regressions include control
dummies for different sources of finance
(public, private or Business Angel investment)
and industries (Energy and Other, Medical
and Health, ICT and Consumer and Business).
Private investments, Consumer and Business
industry, year 1995 for Panels A and year
1987 and 2000 for Panel B are the omitted
categories. Quantile regressions have also been
examined since there are outliers that may
influence the results of the OLS model.
Panel A shows regression coefficients for the
amount of funds raised by an exited company
per funding round. Investments with Business
Angel or publicly backed fund involvement
were approximately two and a half million
pounds smaller in size than those made
solely by private funds (coeff: -2.473*** and
-2.786***). Industry variables coefficients
suggest that Healthcare and Medical exited
companies received larger deals (by three
million pounds) compared with companies
operating in the Consumer and Businesses
sector (coeff: 3.035*** ). Investments made
in 2000 were significantly larger and their size
dropped in 2002. Column (ii) shows results
from a quantile regression and the coefficients
are very similar but smaller. Regression
coefficients for the natural log of the amount
of funds raised by an exited company per
funding round although not reported here,
show similar results.
Columns (i) and (ii) in Panel B examine the
effect of the source of finance (public, private
or Business Angel) on the time that a company
needs to exit. Companies that at any point in
time received investment by a Business Angel
or a publicly backed fund do not differentiate
from companies that received finance from
solely private VC in terms of time to exit. In
addition, the total amount of money that a
company raises before exit does not seem to
affect the time to exit (coeff: .005). Column
(ii) shows results from a quantile regression
and, again, the relevant coefficients are
slightly larger but do not significantly change.
Industries coefficients suggest that companies
operating in the Healthcare and Medical sector
need more time to exit (nine months) than
companies from the Consumer and Business
sector.
30
Table 2: Panel A: Deal level analysis
(i) OLS (ii) Quantile
Deal size (£m) Deal size (£m)
Business Angel involvement -2.473*** -1.060***
(-2.66) (-4.76)
Public fund involvement -2.786*** -1.504***
(-3.73) (-4.34)
Time since last investment 0.091 0.142***
(1.25) (6.73)
Round number 1.994*** 0.428***
(3.77) (7.37)
Industry dummies
Energy & Other -1.672 1.017**
(-0.73) (2.05)
Healthcare & Medical 3.035*** 2.218***
(3.03) (7.71)
ICT 1.454 0.737***
(1.44) (3.21)
Year of investment
1996 2.922 2.795
(0.72) (1.37)
1997 -0.383 1.759
(-0.20) (0.95)
1998 -1.094 1.450
(-0.51) (0.86)
1999 2.646 3.434**
(1.52) (2.10)
2000 9.574*** 5.069***
(4.15) (3.15)
2001 2.265 3.272**
(1.09) (2.03)
2002 -0.011 1.670
(-0.01) (1.04)
2003 -0.447 1.926
(-0.21) (1.19)
2004 -0.050 1.630
(-0.02) (1.01)
2005 -1.356 1.812
(-0.57) (1.11)
2006 -1.190 1.843
(-0.47) (1.12)
2007 -4.160 1.885
(-1.47) (1.10)
2008 -0.717 1.254
(-0.23) (0.68)
Constant -3.005*** -1.859
(-1.21) (-1.15)
Observations 1239 1239
R-squared 0.13
Note: Robust t statistics in parentheses, * significant at 10 per cent; ** significant at 5 per cent; *** significant at 1 per
cent, Consumer and Business is used as the reference industry. Year 1995 has been omitted.
31
Table 3: Panel B: Company level analysis
(i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi)
Time to exit Time to exit Multiples IRR (log) Multiples IRR (log)
(quantile) (log) (log)
Business Angel involvement 0.105 0.130 0.115 0.161 -0.067 0.083
(0.55) (0.56) (0.66) (1.17) (-0.42) (0.69)
Public fund involvement 0.362 0.529 -0.058 -0.011 0.085 0.050
(1.52) (1.61) (-0.23) (-0.06) (0.36) (0.27)
Number of rounds 0.520*** 0.623*** -0.175*** -0.070 -0.208*** -0.082*
(8.65) (9.12) (-3.65) (-1.37) (-4.72) (-1.91)
Time to exit -0.088** -0.023 -0.035 -0.027
(-2.31) (-0.84) (0.76) (-1.00)
Total amount raised before exit 0.005 0.005 -0.003 -0.004* -0.003 -0.003*
(1.62) (1.27) (-1.15) (-1.66) (1.52) (-1.83)
Industry dummies
Energy and other 0.246 0.531 0.470 0.003 0.748** 0.058
(0.47) (0.86) (1.38) (0.01) (2.56) (0.20)
Healthcare and Medical 0.379 0.856** 0.134 -0.058 -0.100 -0.118
(1.34) (2.39) (0.53) (-0.30) (-0.44) (-0.65)
ICT 0.029 0.563** 0.179 -0.022 -0.015 -0.156
(0.14) (2.17) (0.83) (-0.15) (-0.07) (-1.16)
Year of first investment
1988 6.313*** 13.682*** 1.445*** 0.211
(8.08) (9.26) (6.54) (-1.26)
1990 7.576*** 15.244***
(39.77) (22.13)
1991 0.000 7.643*** -0.419 -0.960***
(.) (10.72) (-1.23) (-3.73)
1992 -0.822 8.370*** -0.179 0.225
(-0.81) (5.72) (-0.42) (0.58)
1993 -0.884 5.086*** -1.573 -0.019
(-0.65) (3.40) (-1.20) (-0.02)
1994 -1.408 6.443*** -1.136* 0.908*
(-1.04) (5.43) (-1.75) (1.76)
1995 -3.946*** 4.022*** -0.673 0.187
(-3.82) (3.80) (-0.84) (0.40)
1996 -2.794*** 4.564*** -1.667** -0.129
(-3.43) (4.68) (-2.49) (-0.24)
1997 -3.758*** 3.762*** -1.769*** -0.127
(-7.90) (4.53) (-3.27) (-0.31)
1998 -4.398*** 3.366*** -1.779*** -0.442
(-13.84) (4.58) (-3.40) (-1.04)
1999 -4.749*** 3.196*** -1.677*** -0.135
(-16.48) (4.57) (-3.05) (-0.33)
2000 -5.221*** 2.486*** -2.088*** -0.539
(-25.05) (3.57) (-3.96) (-1.32)
2001 -4.866*** 2.927*** -1.587*** -0.030
(-18.81) (4.05) (-2.93) (-0.07)
2002 -5.225*** 2.539*** -1.218** 0.151
(-14.75) (3.50) (-1.97) (-0.37)
2003 -5.967*** 1.628** -1.706*** -0.440
(-17.78) (2.10) (-2.70) (-0.89)
32
(i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi)
Time to exit Time to exit Multiples IRR (log) Multiples IRR (log)
(quantile) (log) (log)
2004 -5.872*** 1.855** -1.411** 0.138
(-17.45) (2.37) (-2.47) (0.31)
2005 -6.065*** 2.108** -0.128 0.129
(-22.55) (1.97) (-0.20) (0.28)
2006 -5.837*** 1.929* -2.309*** -0.194
(-24.94) (1.93) (-3.38) (-0.31)
2007 -6.642*** 1.533* -1.454 -0.268
(-20.42) (1.66) (-1.60) (-0.30)
2008 -7.955***
(-14.35)
Year of exit
2001 -0.861** -0.808***
(-2.03) (-3.24)
2002 -1.782*** -0.885***
(-6.28) (-4.08)
2003 -1.237*** -0.419*
(-3.94) (-1.93)
2004 -0.781*** -0.273
(-3.01) (-1.36)
2005 -0.675*** -0.290
(-2.71) (-1.38)
2006 -0.650* -0.034
(-1.85) (-0.16)
2007 -0.522 -0.174
(-1.62) (-0.87)
2008 -0.170 -0.011
(-0.41) (-0.04)
2009 -0.422 -0.104
(-0.99) (-0.37)
Constant 7.050*** -1.564** 3.290*** 4.920*** 2.357*** 5.124***
(23.36) (-2.32) (5.47) (11.21) (10.78) (30.12)
Observations 574 574 289 283 289 283
R-squared 0.44 0.20 0.13 0.22 0.13
Note: Robust t statistics in parentheses, * significant at 1 per cent; ** significant at 5 per cent; *** significant at 10 per
cent, Consumer and Business is used as the reference industry. Year 1987 has been omitted for columns 1 to 4. Year 2000 has
been omitted for columns 5 and 6.
The rest of Panel B shows regression
coefficients for the natural log of the price
to cash multiples and the gross IRR. Columns
(iii) and (iv) control for the year of the first
investment made to exited companies while
columns (v) and (vi) control for the year that
the company exited. The results suggest that
the number of rounds, controlling for the
overall time to exit, is negatively related to the
multiple returns and one extra round of finance
reduces the multiple returns by approximately
20 per cent. However, the number of rounds
has only a small impact on the IRR returns.
The time to exit can be associated with
negative returns. One extra year in the lifecycle
of the company reduces the multiples by
approximately 9 per cent but its impact on IRR
is not significant. The size of the total amounts
raised by the company before exit does not
significantly affect financial returns.
33
Examination of the impact of the two crises
on the returns unveils a significant decrease
(approximately 1.8x in terms of multiples
and 89 per cent in terms of IRR) of returns
during the dotcom crisis (2002) but shows
no evidence of such decrease during the
current financial crisis. This suggests that
during the dotcom crisis there was a realisation
that companies were of low quality, which
brought the returns down, while instead the
quality of the companies being exited in the
financial crisis has not been affected. Quantile
regressions do not show significant differences
in the results and therefore are not reported
here.
Further analysis particularly concerned with
the effect of company characteristics such as
quality and age of business in different years,
would contribute to the robustness of this
analysis.
34
Appendix 4: Tables and figures
Table 4: Early-stage investments by year and type of investor, 2000-2009
Year Deals made by private Publicly backed Total Publicly backed
and other funds investments investments as a
percentage of all
early-stage deals
2000 105 27 132 20%
2001 110 61 171 36%
2002 94 74 168 44%
2003 122 127 249 51%
2004 143 172 315 55%
2005 122 211 333 63%
2006 118 170 288 59%
2007 114 176 290 61%
2008 67 141 208 68%
2009 68 86 154 56%
Source: For the years 2000-2008 Library House and for 2009 VentureSource Dow Jones, Thomson One and desk research31
Note: Financing Completion Date: No Earlier Than:01-Jan-00 No Later Than:31-Dec-09; Financing Round Class: Acquisition, Merger, Public Investment, Buyout;
Business Status: Private or Independent, Publicly Held, Out of Business, Acquired or Merged, In IPO Registration, In Bankruptcy.
Table 5: Descriptive statistics – Time to exit (only exited companies with all available transaction data)
Std. Std. Std. Std. Std.
Year N Mean Deviation N Mean Deviation N Mean Deviation N Mean Deviation N Mean Deviation
2000 77 2.605 2.368 20 1.636 1.363 1 5.504 . 9 3.635 3.291 43 2.934 2.438
2001 64 2.316 2.463 35 2.049 2.458 2 7.225 6.885 7 2.940 2.312 20 2.073 1.498
2002 71 2.951 2.078 28 2.315 0.851 3 1.711 1.346 6 4.949 4.233 32 2.898 1.563
2003 65 3.735 2.389 17 3.697 1.721 1 3.118 . 5 3.513 2.601 41 3.827 2.683
2004 104 4.409 2.168 28 4.117 1.866 3 2.247 0.477 22 4.102 2.325 50 4.894 2.203
2005 121 4.903 2.300 26 4.382 2.435 8 4.704 2.740 25 4.594 2.324 60 5.317 2.158
2006 108 5.769 2.263 37 6.057 1.888 4 5.497 1.759 14 5.712 2.537 51 5.616 2.470
2007 71 5.715 2.879 27 5.443 2.671 3 3.825 1.603 14 5.007 2.362 27 6.565 3.267
2008 74 6.188 3.054 18 5.342 3.297 7 5.638 4.365 12 6.929 1.978 35 6.727 2.811
2009 60 5.696 2.884 14 6.189 3.075 4 3.518 2.429 14 5.831 2.853 26 5.809 2.898
Total 815 4.517 2.777 250 4.060 2.698 36 4.432 3.048 129 4.922 2.729 385 4.756 2.782
31. This source was also used by
NESTA (2008) and Mason
and Pierrakis (2009). Some
of the figures reported
here may differ slightly
from those cited by NESTA
(2008): (i) the Library House
database is live and so is
continually being updated;
(ii) further cleaning of
the data by the authors.
However, these changes do
not change the observed
trends and the argument
made by NESTA (2008).
35
Table 6: Industry categorisation
Industry Industry
Group
Consumer and Business Services (Not Financial)
Businesses
Cons/Bus Products
Cons/Bus Services
Consumer & Business
Services: Other
Consumer Services
Education & Training Services
Financial Institutions & Services
Media, Content & Information
Restaurants & Food Service
Retailers
Retailing & Mass Merchandising
Specialty Retailers
Transportation Services
Energy and Adv Spec Mat & Chem
Other
Agriculture
Coal
Energy
Healthcare Alternate Sites (Out-Patient)
and Medical
Biopharmaceuticals
Biotechnology Therapeutics
Diagnostic Equipment (Not Imaging)
Drug Development Technologies
Healthcare Services
Medical & Lab Services
Medical Devices/Equipment
ICT Application-Specific Integrated
Circuit
Broadcasting
Business Applications Software
Industry Industry
Group
ICT Communication & Networks
Communications & Computers
Computer Systems
Connectivity & Communications
Software
Connectivity Products
Data Management Services
Database Software
Design Automation Software
Electronic Components
Electronics & Computers
Fibreoptic Equipment & Photonics
General Purpose Integrated Circuits
IT Consultants
Information Services
Integrated Circuit Production
Medical Software
Multimedia Networking Software
Network & Systems Management
Software
Recreational & Home Software
Semiconductors
Software
Software Development Tools
Software: Other
Tele/Videoconferencing Equipment
& Serv
Telecommunications Service
Providers
Vertical Market Applications
Software
Wireless Communications Equipment
36
Table 7: Exits by type, 2000-2009
Round Type Freq. Per cent Cum.
Acquisition 503 61.58 61.58
Asset Acquisition 43 5.3 66.87
Buyout – LBO 15 1.85 68.72
Gov't Grant 1 0.12 68.84
Management Buy-In 4 0.49 69.33
Management Buyout 70 8.62 77.96
Merger 17 2.09 80.05
Public Invest. – PPPE 1 0.12 80.17
Public Invest. – 2PO 1 0.12 80.3
Public Invest. – IPO 150 18.47 98.77
Reverse Merger 10 1.23 100
Total 815 100
Figure 21: Proportion of amounts invested by stage (£m), 2000-2009
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Percentage
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Later Round Second Round First Round Seed Round
37
Figure 22: Proportion of number of deals by stage, 2000-2009
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Percentage
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Later Round Second Round First Round Seed Round
Table 8: Fundraising activity 2000-2009
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Number of funds
Seed 11 2 6 2 4 1 3 2
Early Stage 50 17 14 10 6 10 11 5 8 4
Balanced Stage 30 16 10 3 8 12 21 15 10 6
Expansion 5 9 3 3 8 2 9 4 3 1
Development 4 3 2 2
Later stage 6 3 2 3 3 1 4 1 1 0
Total 106 50 37 23 29 26 48 27 22 11
Size in GBP millions
Seed 348.7 45.9 57.9 8.7 15.7 6 16.6 51.3
Early Stage 2609.6 705.5 310.2 499.1 334.2 264.1 813.1 240.6 329.3 128.2
Balanced Stage 2604.7 1322.2 265.6 534.2 582.7 978.3 2070.6 1978.6 915.5 400
Expansion 452.2 651.9 127.8 63.2 362.9 119.4 772.2 48.3 332.1 45.4
Development 54.3 20.5 106.8 300
Later stage 339.7 554.4 51.2 66.2 47.2 37.7 174 38.7 36.5 0
Total 6409.2 3300.4 919.5 1471.4 1342.7 1405.5 3846.5 2357.5 1613.4 573.6
Source: Thomson One
38
Table 9: Descriptive statistics – Total amounts raised and financing rounds for exited
companies, 2000-09
Rounds Total amounts raised (no IPOs)
Std. Std.
Year N Mean Deviation N Mean Deviation
2000 75 3.56 2.158 59 11.726 15.6315
2001 64 2.80 1.115 43 8.277 19.1310
2002 71 3.24 1.399 56 9.350 18.1948
2003 65 3.31 1.310 54 9.013 14.3801
2004 104 3.98 1.911 89 12.117 24.5765
2005 121 4.05 1.966 96 12.862 20.3530
2006 108 3.94 1.631 74 17.942 42.9843
2007 71 4.35 2.192 49 14.117 19.2432
2008 74 3.96 2.030 53 13.685 47.3824
2009 60 3.90 1.980 36 8.082 9.6516
Table 10: Descriptive statistics – Cash in-to-valuation multiples
Year N Minimum Maximum Sum Mean Deviation
2000 48 0.358 32.182 268.308 5.58974 6.151991
2001 26 0.063 38.64 180.308 6.93491 10.38065
2002 23 0.094 7.253 40.259 1.75041 2.018292
2003 21 0.133 13.56 48.335 2.30168 3.077858
2004 52 0.016 30.08 167.344 3.21815 5.513188
2005 51 0.061 128.656 253.917 4.97876 17.85689
2006 25 0.019 50 136.085 5.44339 10.696
2007 30 0.016 28.068 131.018 4.36728 6.366624
2008 16 0.129 20.495 86.944 5.43399 6.210825
2009 12 0.565 17.365 64.759 5.39661 6.027179
39
Table 11: Tests for differences in the means of years to exit for UK-based venture capitalbacked
companies, 2000-2009
Year N Coef. Std. Err.
2001 64 -0.421 0.414
2002 71 0.09 0.393
2003 65 0.581 0.403
2004 104 1.651*** 0.365
2005 121 1.935*** 0.319
2006 108 3.010*** 0.356
2007 71 2.961*** 0.4
2008 74 3.580*** 0.387
2009 60 3.325*** 0.409
_cons 2.753 0.268
R sqr 0.22
N 807
Note: *** denotes values which are statistically different from those of 2000 at the 1 per cent level.
Table 11 reports summary statistics for the
explanatory variables years to exit. It tests for
differences in sample means between each year
between 2001 and 2009 and 2000 in terms
of the time that takes for a company to exit.
The table includes all exited companies with
transaction details. The number of observations
is as recorded in the second column.
Table 12: Variable description
Variable name Description
Business Angel involvement Dummy that takes the value 1 if one or more Business Angel participated in the
deal and 0 otherwise
Public fund involvement Dummy that takes the value 1 if one or more Publicly backed funds participated
in the deal and 0 otherwise
Time to exit Time (expressed in years) that company needed to exit
Deal size Amount of funds raised in the funding round
Total amount raised before exit Total amount of funds raised by a company before exit
Multiples (log) Natural log of the multiples
IRR (log) Natural log for gross IRRs
Number of rounds Number of rounds that company received before exit
Round number The number of round at the time of investment
Industry dummies
Energy & Other Dummy variable equal to 1 if company operating in Energy & Other sector
Healthcare & Medical Dummy variable equal to 1 if company operating in Healthcare & Medical sector
ICT Dummy variable equal to 1 if company operating in ICT sector
40
Figure 23: Cash in-to-valuation multiples 2000-2009 – Number of deals
<1
1.1_5
5.1_10
10.1<
9%
10% 27%
54%
NESTA
1 Plough Place
London EC4A 1DE
research@nesta.org.uk
www.nesta.org.uk
Published: July 2010
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