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Vonage In The News
Vonage Holdings Corp. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2013 Results

Carolyn Katz Elected to Board of Directors of Vonage Holdings Corp.

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Voice-Over-Internet Firm Vonage Getting $105 Mil


Vonage In Print News

Wireless, Medical Gear, Biotech Are Hot VC Sectors; $4.3 Bil Put In Startups In Q3; Top recipient In The Quarter Was Voice-Over-Internet Firm Vonage, Getting $105 Mil

October 26, 2004

By Brian Deagon

Investments by the venture capital industry held steady in the third quarter.

At its current rate, VC investment is on pace to finish the year close to where it did last year, at almost $19 billion, says a new report.

Investments of $4.3 billion in the quarter were the same as last year, but below the $5.9 billion invested in the second quarter.

Still, it fell within the $4.2 billion and $5.9 billion range seen every quarter in the past two years.

"The venture capital market continues to stabilize," said Dave Furneaux, a partner at Kodiak Venture Partners, which has $700 million under management. "The trend toward better capital efficiency is increasing."

The National Venture Capital Association, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Thomson Venture Economics compiled the study, called MoneyTree.

Venture capital firms are more cautious because of lessons learned during the Internet boom, when money was thrown at any company with a Web address. But VCs remain prone to jumping onto a company that's hyped.

"Hot areas continue to get overfunded," said Furneaux. He points to wireless, storage and security. "The formula to success is to get there early, lock up mind share and build a barrier to entry."

The hot categories for venture capital investors have been wireless communications, medical devices, biotechnology and software. Up-and-comers are media and entertainment companies, fueled by the growth of broadband.

The top recipient of funding in the third quarter was Vonage Holdings, a company with the potential to throw the long-distance communications business upside down. Vonage, which lets users make calls over the Internet at a cost far below that of traditional landline telecom, got $105 million.

The average deal size in the quarter was $7 million.

Half of the top 20 investments were in the life sciences field, a category that has grown since the Internet bust. Its growth coincides with the aging baby boom population.

"Life sciences continues to show impressive strength," said Tracy Lefteroff, global managing partner of the venture capital and private equity practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The largest recipient of funding in life sciences went to Sopherion Therapeutics, a biotech company focused on anti-cancer therapies, which received $47 million.

On the information technology front, the top recipient was Silicon Optix, a maker of digital video technology, with $35.4 million.

Investments in life sciences totaled $1.26 billion, or 29% of all venture capital. The software industry was second, with $942 million and 22%. Telecommunications was third.

Investments in wireless technology runs across several industries, including chips, software and hardware.

"The growth of handsets and the overall propagation of wireless is continuing at a fast pace," said Paul Vais, a partner at Apax Partners, which has $12 billion under management.

VC interest in wireless has been fueled by the consumer market, not business, says Vais. Consumers also are the driving force in networking communications and the development of chip technology in video displays.

In the area of early stage speculative investing, venture capital firms are investing more in nanotechnology and materials sciences. Another area of interest is energy.

One of the most closely watched areas in venture capital is the number of companies getting funding for the first time. The industry would wither without this new flow of companies, as older firms eventually get acquired, go public, go out of business or can't generate a return on investment.

A total of 182 companies received venture capital for the first time, or 30% of all companies funded in the third quarter. That's the best showing in two years. These firms received $1 billion, or 23% of all dollars, also above recent norms. Software companies received most first-time funding, with 44 companies getting $192 million.

All in all, the venture capital industry is heading toward its second year of relative stability. That coincides with a rebound in initial public offerings, the most lucrative method for cashing out investments.

Twenty-four venture-backed companies raised $3.2 billion through IPOs in the third quarter. The highlight of the quarter was Google's $1.7 billion IPO, which accounted for half of the total raised, says NVCA. The number of IPOs is down from 29 in the second quarter, but VCs still consider the IPO market healthy.

In the past eight months, there have been 139 IPOs in total vs. 32 in the same period a year ago, says Renaissance Capital. There have been 278 IPO filings as of Oct. 25 compared with 74 at this time last year.

Most of the IPO activity this year, 27%, has been in health care, followed by technology, with 24%, and financial, at 17%.

The venture capital industry is not showing any clear signs of nervousness. Venture capitalists say their fortunes tend to rise and fall with the performance of the tech-laden Nasdaq.

"Over the past year a lot of fears have been discounted," said Furneaux. "There is a way to make money in virtually every cycle of the economy."



 
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†AK and HI residents pay $29.95 shipping. ††Limited time offer. Valid for residents of the United States (&DC), 18 years or older, who open new accounts. Offer good while supplies last and only on new account activations. One kit per account/household. Offer cannot be combined with any other discounts, promotions or plans and is not applicable to past purchases. Good while supplies last. Allow up to 2 weeks for shipping. Other restrictions may apply.

1Unlimited calling and other services for all residential plans are based on normal residential, personal, non-commercial use. A combination of factors is used to determine abnormal use, including but not limited to: the number of unique numbers called, calls forwarded, minutes used and other factors. Subject to our Reasonable Use Policy and Terms of Service.

2Shipping and activation fees waived with 1-year agreement. An Early Termination Fee (with periodic pro-rated reductions) applies if service is terminated before the end of the first 12 months. Additional restrictions may apply. See Terms of Service for details.

HIGH SPEED INTERNET REQUIRED. †VALID FOR NEW LINES ONLY. RATES EXCLUDE INTERNET SERVICE, SURCHARGES, FEES AND TAXES. DEVICE MAY BE REFURBISHED. If you subscribe to plans with monthly minutes allotments, all call minutes placed from both from your home and registered ExtensionsTM phones will count toward your monthly minutes allotment. ExtensionsTM calls made from mobiles use airtime and may incur surcharges, depending on your mobile plan. Alarms, TTY and other systems may not be compatible. Vonage 911 service operates differently than traditional 911. See www.vonage.com/911 for details.

** Certain call types excluded.

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