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Venture capital investors becoming cautious

Figures released yesterday by Ernst & Young and VentureOne revealed venture capital investment fell by just under a quarter between 2002 and 2003.

The amount invested was down 24% year on year from €1.5billion to €1.1billion, a stark contrast to the heady days of 2000 when more than double that amount was raised in half of a single quarter. But the news was not all bad.

According to the study, the UK venture capital market enhanced its position as the largest in Europe, accounting for 32% of total funds invested. And the report said the outlook for 2004 was much rosier. Stuart Watson, head of Ernst & Young's venture capital advisory group in the UK, says: "We consider that the more healthy signs of recovery in the US will show through into the UK market and then subsequently the rest of the European market in 2004."

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