Venture capital for startups hard to get The investors and venture capitalists I spoke to insisted that we're not on the verge of anything like the dot-com meltdown, characterizing the shift as a minor and healthy correction, or a "rationalization." Venture capital funds themselves raised 17 percent fewer dollars from the second to third quarter, even as the number of funds grew, according to a joint report from Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association. [...] despite requiring greater risks and larger capital outlays, venture capital has been underperforming the stock market over the past decade, according to a report this year by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Joe Dear, chief investment officer for CalPERS, told Reuters this summer that venture capital "has been the most disappointing asset class over the past 10 years as far as returns." Investment horizons have steadily spread out, from five to 10 to sometimes 15 years, as exit opportunities like acquisitions and initial public offerings fail to materialize. Last week, Forbes dug up figures from CB Insights that highlighted a wide and growing gap between the number of companies that raised initial funding and companies securing the follow-on investments, known as a Series A, generally necessary to keep going. For the venture capital industry to get back on track, it needs to embrace a renewed sense of discipline - on company picks, deal terms and total spending. Above all, what the industry needs are some wins - acquisitions or initial public offerings that put investors clearly in the black and start to restore some lost confidence.