US venture capitalists are awash with money at the moment as investors and vendors all start clamouring for a piece of the action.
Research firm, Venture One, estimates that some $9.4 billion was invested in the first three quarters of this year, a 13 per cent hike on the same period last year.
Such investors include New Enterprise Associates, which has just established a new $550 million fund just to invest in start-ups - the largest early-stage venture fund ever.
And the firm said it has already turned away millions of dollars more from would-be investors, so that it could keep control of managing its investments. Investors in typical venture capitals funds these days can expect to triple their money in three years.
Japanese giant, Panasonic, this week also joined an increasing number of companies that are establishing their own funds, including AT&T, Cisco and Intel.
Panasonic has just set aside $50 million to invest in start-ups, a sum that industry watchers believe may be increased depending on the success of the undertaking.
"The spirit of Silicon Valley is partnerships. We want to be a citizen of the Valley," said Charles Wu, managing director of the fund at Panasonic.
But unconfirmed US reports also say that Microsoft is attempting to jump on the bandwagon and is preparing to pump millions of dollars into venture capital companies.
Although the software giant does not have a good reputation among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, it is believed the company will use venture capital firms as middle men rather invest directly and it is already reported to have made deals worth millions with two venture capital companies. A third one is currently being negotiated.
Microsoft was unavailable for comment.
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