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Hold on to your start-ups, the economy is going down!

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The pre-election slowdown of 2008 is hitting the valley and all of our favorite websites and gadgetmongers might be feeling the pinch. While housing prices and salaries haven’t been hit, high tech investment has slowed and stock prices are falling. The NYT writes:

But having assiduously clawed its way back from the dot-com bust, the Valley is again facing some tough conditions. At the area’s blue chip companies, stock performance has turned grim as growth has slowed. Google’s stock has fallen around 31 percent this year; Apple is down 21 percent. The Nasdaq composite, an index with a major technology focus, is down 11.4 percent this year.

Most of the investment growth happened in the last few years, though, right? Could this be a political sell-off — including the housing bubble — in expectation of different political focus next year? McMansions and oil prices losing out to ecojunk and foreign relations?

New companies are hitting roadblocks on their way to the capital markets. Upek, a company in Emeryville, Calif., that makes computer chips and software used for fingerprint recognition, registered to go public last May. It then began trying to drum up investor enthusiasm, and was making progress. But on March 4, it withdrew its registration.

On Wall Street “there was suddenly no more appetite for growth companies,” said Eric Buatois, a general partner in Sofinnova Ventures, an early-stage investment firm that backed the start-up.

What will that mean for our gadget jones? Not much, really. They can still offshore manufacturing and this recession shouldn’t hit us so hard that we can’t afford a PSP Svelte in purple and orange when it comes out, right? After all, we only have a 1 in 4 chance of falling into a depression.

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