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Ready, Set, Flow

Optimistic entrepreneurs are testing the VC waters now that the market's future looks brighter.

By C.J. Prince

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Oliver Curme sums up the current venture capital climate-and theoutlook for 2004-in five long-awaited words: "Happy days arehere again," says the general partner of Battery Ventures, aVC firm in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

You wouldn't necessarily know it was time to celebrate justby looking at the numbers. VC investments in 2003, at $18 billion,declined by 15 percent over the previous year, according to themost recent "MoneyTree Survey" fromPricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Thomson Venture Economics and theNational Venture Capital Association (NVCA). First-time funding wasalso down in 2003: 624 companies got $3.4 billion, compared with2002's 792 companies that got $4.3 billion.

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