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Fenwick & West's Venture Capital Survey Reveals 36% Increase in Valuations in 4th Quarter 2004

Results of Life Sciences Venture Capital Valuation Survey Also Announced

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., February 22, 2005/Business Wire/ – Fenwick & West LLP, one of the nation's premier law firms providing comprehensive legal services to high technology and life science clients, today announced the results of its Fourth Quarter 2004 Silicon Valley Venture Capital Survey.

The survey analyzed the terms and valuations of venture financings for 101 technology and life science companies headquartered in the Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bay Area that reported raising capital in the fourth quarter of 2004.

The results show that Fenwick & West's Venture Capital Barometer™—a measurement of the change in share price of companies funded during the quarter compared with their prior financing round—was up 36%.

"This is a very healthy increase," said Barry Kramer, co-author of the survey. "It is the highest increase we've seen since we started the Barometer in the first quarter of 2004."

The survey also disclosed that up rounds continued to outpace down rounds. "Up rounds outpaced down rounds 60% to 28%," said Kramer, "marking the fourth quarter in a row in which up rounds exceeded down rounds."

An up round is one in which the price per share at which a company sells its stock has increased since its prior financing round. Conversely, a down round is one in which the price per share has declined since a company's prior financing round.

"The use of tougher deal terms such as senior liquidation preferences, multiple liquidation preferences, ratchet antidilution, and pay-to-play provisions declined from the prior quarter," added Kramer. "The fact that these non-price terms were down is a further indicator of growing investor confidence."

Michael Patrick, survey co-author, said, "Other positive trends during the quarter included an increase in the number of venture-backed companies going public, along with a 12% increase in the Nasdaq composite index. While some signals remain mixed, the Silicon Valley venture environment continues to improve, especially in the area of company valuations."

Life Sciences Survey

Fenwick & West also announced the results of its first annual Life Sciences Venture Capital Valuation Survey, which showed that the valuation of venture-backed life sciences companies based in Silicon Valley improved significantly during the year. The survey was based on the venture financings of 85 life science companies headquartered in the local area.

"In the life sciences survey, up rounds outpaced down rounds in 2004 by 54% to 23%," said Kramer.

The Fenwick & West Life Science Barometer showed a 27% average price increase for life sciences companies receiving venture capital financing in 2004 compared to such company's previous financing round. The survey also disclosed that valuation increases for life science companies were noticeably higher in the second half of 2004 compared to the first half of 2004.

Complete results of both surveys are posted on Fenwick & West's website at

Survey highlights are also published on, Knight Ridder Digital's technology news website, in conjunction with the San Jose Mercury News' Quarterly Venture Capital Report.

About the Survey

The Fenwick & West Quarterly Venture Capital Survey and the Life Sciences Venture Capital Valuation Survey, co-authored by law firm partners Barry J. Kramer and Michael J. Patrick, offer a unique view of the venture capital market in the Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bay Area by providing insight into the changes in venture capital terms and valuations. Focusing exclusively on trends in venture financing and valuations, the Fenwick & West Surveys complement the economic data presented in the Ernst & Young/Venture One U.S. Venture Capital Survey and the MoneyTree™ Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Venture Economics, and the National Venture Capital Association.

About Fenwick & West

Established in 1972, Fenwick & West LLP is one of the nation's premier law firms with extensive expertise in venture capital, public offerings and other corporate finance, joint ventures, M&A and strategic relationships, intellectual property, litigation and dispute resolution, taxation, antitrust and employment and labor law.


Barry J. Kramer
Fenwick & West LLP
Phone: 650.335.7278

Michael J. Patrick
Fenwick & West LLP
Phone: 650.335.7273

Richard Wood
Sand Hill Partners (for Fenwick & West LLP)
Phone: 650.631.0123