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An Olympic Funding Pool

Once an obscure niche of U.S. finance, venture capital now plays a front-and-center role in the New Economy. The tally for 1999 is in, and it turns out U.S. venture capitalists invested more in young companies in the last quarter of 1999 than they invested in all of 1998--$15 billion, vs. $14 billion. The $35.6 billion full-year total was 2 1/2 times the 1998 amount, according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers Moneytree Survey, which tracks cash for equity investments in young companies.

It's all great news for entrepreneurs. Some 4,006 companies, 41% more than the previous year, tapped this pool. And the deals are getting bigger. The size of the average investment grew to $8.9 million, up from $5.2 million in 1998.

What Price Homework?

With cell phones and pagers becoming ubiquitous, employers often expect to reach employees at all hours of the day. How do you compensate those bleary-eyed souls who regularly field your frantic calls for help?

As a matter of conscience, you ought to consider overtime. But generally, managers and supervisors are "exempt employees," meaning you're not legally required to pay extra for the extra work. "Unless you have some contractual only need to pay them what you've committed to pay them for doing their job," says Mae Lon Ding, president of Personnel Systems Associates, an Anaheim Hills (Calif.) compensation consultant.

Things get murkier for hourly employees. As a general rule, the law requires you to compensate nonexempt employees--such as hotel managers--who must sleep on the job site. Even if they sleep off-site, you may have to pay them while they're on call, too.

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