Ron Conway, a financier known for his early investments in technology companies such as Google Inc., is leading a Silicon Valley effort to curb gun violence by investing in technologies such as firearm locks and better school security.
Even as some venture-capital firms have become skittish after the disappointing initial public offerings of Facebook, Groupon Inc. and Zynga Inc., a number of hedge funds, private-equity firms and other asset-management firms are pouring money into closely held startups.
Venture-capital firms are taking stiff measures to survive a tough fundraising environment and lackluster returns, including gutting their partnerships, slashing their fund sizes and refocusing their investment areas.
Raising money for start-ups is relatively easy in Silicon Valley these days. But longtime entrepreneurs and venture capitalists say it is still nowhere near as simple as it was in 1999 and 2000, when a cash flood fueled the dot-com bubble.
As venture capitalists scramble to get a piece of Silicon Valley’s new Web boom, entrepreneurs like Aaron Levie are finding they have the upper hand.
Mr. Levie, 26 years old, founded online storage provider Box.net in 2005. While his 140-person Palo Alto, Calif., company has money in the bank, Mr. Levie saw the Web investing environment heat up recently, driven by interest in fast-growing start-ups such as Facebook Inc. and Zynga Inc.