Venture capital eludes Colorado Springs, hits nine-year low in Colorado

by WAYNE HEILMAN wayneh@gazette.com - Published: January 17, 2014 | 12:00 am 0

Venture capital investments in Colorado fell to a nine-year low last year and bypassed the Colorado Springs area for a third consecutive quarter, according to a quarterly survey.

No Colorado Springs startup has landed an investment from a venture capital fund since computer storage manufacturer X-IO received $2 million in the first quarter of 2013.

And, until the last quarter of 2012, when Cherwell Software landed $25 million, such funding had bypassed the Springs for nearly four years.

Statewide, venture investments fell nearly 30 percent from 2012 to $414.8 million, the smallest amount since 2004's total of $363.2 million, according to the MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.

Venture funding in Colorado in the fourth quarter was down 7.5 percent from a year earlier to $89.5 million, the second-lowest quarterly total in more than three years, the report said.

Keith Parsons, a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Denver, said last year's decline resulted in part from venture funds slowing investments in alternative energy startups, which had landed much of the state's venture funding in recent years. The biggest investment during the fourth quarter, $35 million, went to Sympoz, a Denver-based company that operates an online interactive learning system.

"I hope to see more funding (in Colorado) this year because the exit market for venture funds has improved with more initial public offerings. We are already seeing more investment nationwide, and I believe Colorado is just lagging the rest of the nation a little bit," Parsons said.

Nationwide, venture funding in 2013 increased 7.5 percent from 2012 to $29.4 billion but remained slightly below the $29.7 billion invested in 2011. Much of the gain came during the fourth quarter, when venture investments jumped 20.5 percent from a year earlier to $8.37 billion, the highest quarterly total in six years. Much of the increase was generated by the software industry, which landed $11 billion in funding last year, the most the industry has received since 2000.

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