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No Mercy Are VCs sucking the life out of your business? Maybe you're better off without them.

By C.J. Prince

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Remember when the entrepreneurs who couldn't get venturecapital funding were the unfortunates, the wallflowers, forced tosit on the sidelines and envy those with VC partners? Well, if youwere one of those wallflowers, now might be your time to gloat.

Playing with VCs is not the fun it used to be. The once enviabledeals have increasingly devolved into ugly wars over tougher termsand lower valuations, with entrepreneurs caught between priorinvestors and opportunistic new "vulture capital"partners. On one side are the VCs who have already investedsubstantial cash in a given company; they had expected to exit thedeal many months ago, but, because of the nonexistent IPO marketand the sluggish M&A environment, they have no immediate hopesfor liquidity. Now they are either unwilling or unable to sink morecash into the venture, which likely needs another capital infusionto survive the dismal economic climate.

Consequently, companies are forced to seek funds from other VCs.But the new investors are drastically reducing old valuations anddemanding exceedingly harsh terms. "It's a buyer'smarket right now," says Dan Primack, editor-at-large forVenture Economics, a Thompson Financial subsidiary that monitorsthe venture capital industry. "The VCs completely control thisthing."

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