The Worst IPO Market on Record?

The first half of 2008 was dismal for venture-backed initial public offerings, and most VCs don't see the climate improving any time soon

When M. Benjamin Howe headed up technology investment banking for Montgomery Securities in the mid-1990s, the market for initial public offerings was a fountain of profit. In 1996 alone, Howe and other bankers helped take public 270 companies that were financed by venture capitalists. With so much deal flow, it was a wonderful time to be a boutique investment bank like Montgomery, which made a fortune catering to the high-tech set. "We all used to chase the IPO," says Howe.

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