Tough times for venture-backed IPOs

The overall U.S. economy may have so far avoided recession, but things are not looking good for young technology companies hoping to go public in the U.S.  That, in turn, is worrisome for the outlook for technological innovation in the country. According to a news release from the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), the second quarter of 2008 was the first quarter since 1978 when no venture-backed companies had initial public offerings (IPOs) of stock in the United States. Calling it a “capital markets crisis for the start-up community, the NVCA, which is a trade association for venture capital and private equity firms, also released a survey of 662 of its members. The top three reasons the venture capitalists cited for the dearth of new IPOs?  Skittish investors (cited by 77%); credit crunch/mortgage crisis (mentioned by 64%) and Sarbanes-Oxley requirements (57%). “We view this quarter as the ‘canary in the coal mine,’” NVCA president Mark Heesen was quoted as saying.