"Venture-capital purse strings are again attainable for the right company," says Laura Ring, a high-tech marketing consultant with Coopers & Lybrand in Boston. Preliminary figures released from C&L's "Price of Growth: 1993 Update" study, due out next month, indicate a renewed interest on the part of venture capitalists for funding companies at earlier stages. The data are compiled from tracking 200 companies over 10 years.

Period

Average age of start-ups at time of first-round venture-capital financing

1985-1986 3.5 years

1987-1988 3.9

1989-1990 7.1

1991-1992* 6.4

* * *

*In 1992 alone, the average age of companies receiving first-round venture-capital financing was 5.8 years.

-- Alessandra Bianchi