Venture capital losses slackened in last year's third quarter, but the industry remains entrenched in the worst slump in its history, according to figures released Tuesday.
In the year ended Sept. 30, venture capital funds suffered an average loss of 22.3%, according to a study by Venture Economics and the National Venture Capital Assn., the industry's largest trade group.
That was an improvement from an average loss of 27.9% in the year ended June 30, the report said.
Venture capitalists have been mired in losses for the last two years, and the trend is unlikely to end soon, Mark Heeson, the association's president, said.
In another troubling sign, the severity of the high-tech slump is undercutting the long-term returns that represent the venture capital industry's cornerstone. As of Sept. 30, venture funds averaged a 20-year return of 16.7% annually. That's down from the 20-year return of 20.3% annually in September 2000.