The late 1980s were not kind to venture capitalists. Swamped with record levels of capital to invest, fund managers found that putting all the money to work profitably wasn't easy. Investors voted with their checkbooks from 1989 to 1991, reducing their level of new funding to less than one-third of the peak. But now it seems the worst is over.

Capital commitments in billions

1986 $3.3

1987 4.2

1988 2.9

1989 2.4

1990 1.8

1991 1.3

1992 2.5

Source: Annual tabulation of industry resources, Venture Economics, Newark, N.J., January 1993.

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