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LinuxWorld Magazine: The Open Source Venture Capital Universe

Apr 30, 2006, 09:00 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Sterne, Nicholas Herring)

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"Starting in the mid '90s, a few brave pioneers like Benchmark invested in an open alternative to proprietary software and made a fortune. By the end of the decade, everyone wanted a piece of the action. A second wave of VCs rushed in at ridiculous valuations and got their clocks cleaned. In 1999 and 2000, over-capitalized, over-valued open source companies burnt through hundreds of millions of dollars. Shame on the dumb money that gives efficient markets a bad name. Then, the bubble burst, and we entered nuclear winter followed by the trauma of 9/11. Valuations plummeted to the ground. Investors panicked and ran for the exits. Things hit bottom when the vulture capitalists waited until the CEO of SuSE Linux was in a cab on the way to file bankruptcy before agreeing to invest at a valuation set at 1% of SuSE's peak value in 2000.

"In retrospect, the SuSE recap was the turning point..."

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