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Chapter 6. Industry, Technology, and the Global Marketplace

Innovation-Related Indicators of U.S. and Other Major Economies

The OECD defines innovation as the "implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), or process, a new marketing method, or a new organizational method."[20] Innovation is widely recognized as instrumental to the realization of commercial value in the marketplace and as a driver of economic growth.[21] ICT technologies, for example, have stimulated the creation of new products, services, and industries that have transformed the world economy over the past several decades.

This section will present data on how innovation activity varies among U.S. industries, using information from the National Science Foundation's (NSF's) Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS). The section also includes three indicators of activities that are related to innovation, but do not actually constitute innovation. Two of these, patents and trademarks, are indicators of invention—they protect intellectual property in inventions that can have value for commercial innovations. The third indicator concerns early-stage financing for U.S. HT small businesses, which can be an important milestone in the process of bring new products and services to market.

Innovation Activities by U.S. Businesses

The NSF BRDIS survey provides innovation indicators that are representative of all U.S.-located businesses with five or more employees. Survey results indicate which kinds of companies introduced new goods, services, or processes between 2006 and 2008.[22] Preliminary data from a 2008 pilot survey suggest that U.S. KTI industries have a much higher incidence of innovation than other industries.

In the U.S. manufacturing sector, four of the six HT manufacturing industries—computers, communications, scientific and measuring instruments, and pharmaceuticals—reported rates of product and process innovation that were at least double the manufacturing sector average (figure 6-37 and appendix table 6-44). Most of these industries reported significantly higher rates of innovation in both goods and services, suggesting that high rates of innovation by manufacturing companies go hand-in-hand with innovations in services.

Several of these industries, notably computers, communications, and scientific and measuring instruments, reported significantly higher than average rates of process innovations, particularly in production methods and logistics and delivery methods. Innovation is also higher in several commercial KI service industries in comparison to other service industries (figure 6-38 and appendix table 6-44).[23] Software firms lead in incidence of innovation, with 77% of companies reporting the introduction of a new product or service compared to the 7% average for all nonmanufacturing industries. Innovation is also 2 to 3 times higher than the nonmanufacturing average in the telecommunications/Internet industries. The average rate of innovation in the professional, scientific, and technical industries is close to the nonmanufacturing average, but computer systems design and scientific R&D services reported much higher rates of innovation, comparable to those in the telecommunications/Internet industries.

Global Trends in Patenting and Trademarks

To foster innovation, nations assign property rights to inventors in the form of patents. These rights allow the inventor to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention for a limited period in exchange for publicly disclosing details and licensing the use of the invention.[24] Inventors obtain patents from government-authorized agencies for inventions judged to be "new…useful…and…nonobvious."[25]

Patenting is an intermediate step toward innovation, and patent data provide indirect and partial indicators of innovation. Not all inventions are patented, and the propensity to patent differs by industry and technology area. Not all patents are of equal value, and not all foster innovation—patents may be obtained to block rivals, negotiate with competitors, or help in infringement lawsuits (Cohen, Nelson, and Walsh 2000).

Indeed, the vast majority of patents are never commercialized. However, the smaller number of patents that are commercialized result in new or improved products or processes or even entirely new industries. In addition, their licensing may provide an important source of revenue, and patents may provide important information for subsequent inventions and technological advances.

This discussion focuses largely on patent activity at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It is one of the largest patent offices in the world and has a significant share of applications and grants from foreign inventors because of the size and openness of the U.S. market.[26] These market attributes make U.S. patent data useful for identifying trends in global inventiveness.

This section also deals with patents filed in all three of the world's largest patenting centers: the United States, the EU, and Japan.[27] Because of the high costs associated with patent filing and maintenance in these three patent offices, inventions covered by these patents are presumed to be valuable.

Applications for USPTO Grants

The USPTO granted inventors 220,000 patents in 2010, 50,000 more than in 2009 (figure 6-39 and appendix table 6-45). The sharp increase in 2010 may reflect recovery from the recession, along with USPTO efforts to decrease its backlog of patent applications. The United States enacted a new patent law in 2011 aimed in part to reduce the backlog of USPTO patent applications (see sidebar, "New U.S. Patent Law"). The number of U.S. patent grants jumped in the late 1990s, coinciding with a strengthening of the patent system, extension of patent protection into new technology areas through policy changes and judicial decisions during the 1980s and 1990s, and administrative changes (NRC 2004).

Inventors residing in the United States were granted 107,000 patents in 2010, a 30% increase over 2009 (figure 6-39 and appendix table 6-45).[28] The U.S. resident share has gradually fallen since the late 1990s, from 54% to 52% in 2002 and to 49% in 2010. The decline in the U.S. share may indicate increased technological capabilities abroad, globalization, and the increasing recognition by developing countries of the potential value of intellectual property protection in the United States.

The overall growth of patent grants, accompanied by a decline in the U.S. share in these grants over the past two decades, reflects a marked increase in patents granted to non-U.S. countries. The USPTO granted 112,000 patents to non-U.S. inventors in 2010 compared to 46,000 in 1995 (figure 6-39 and appendix table 6-45). The EU, Japan, and the Asia-8 are the main recipients, with a collective share of nearly 90% of patents granted to all non-U.S. inventors (figure 6-40).

Japan has the largest share of foreign patent grants by the USPTO, 40%, down slightly from the early 2000s (figure 6-40 and appendix table 6-45). The EU is second, with a 27% share, a decline of 6 percentage points from 2000. The Asia-8 group was in third place with 20%; its share nearly doubled from 2000 to 2010, largely because of rapid growth by South Korea and Taiwan. Chinese patenting activities in the U.S. remained insubstantial, as did those of Brazil, Russia, and India, in contrast to much higher activity of Chinese and other national patent offices (see sidebar, "Trends in Patents Granted in China, India, and Russia").

USPTO Patenting Activity by U.S. Companies

Patenting by U.S. industry provides an indication of inventive activity, mediated by the relative importance in different industries of patenting as a business strategy. According to the NSF BRDIS survey, U.S. KTI industries account for a large share of USPTO patent grants (figure 6-41 and appendix table 6-46). U.S. HT industries were granted 23,000 patents, 57% of the 40,000 patents granted to all U.S. manufacturing industries in 2009. The U.S. semiconductor industry was issued the largest number of patents (7,000) among these HT industries, followed by 3,000 to 4,000 each for aerospace, computers, communications equipment, pharmaceuticals, and scientific and measuring equipment.

U.S. commercial KI services received 86% of the 17,000 patents issued to nonmanufacturing industries (figure 6-41 and appendix table 6-46). The software industry accounted for 9,000 patents, more than half of the patents issued to commercial KI services; professional and technical services were ranked second with 5,000 patents. Two industries in professional and technical services—scientific research and development services and computer systems design—reported significant patenting activity.

USPTO Patents Granted, by Technology Area

This section discusses trends in several technology areas in a new technology classification system that includes broad science and technologically advanced areas that are emerging and technologies closely aligned with HT industries. The largest area is ICT, which consists of networking, information processes, telecommunications, semiconductors, and computer systems (table 6-8 and appendix tables 6-45 and 6-47). It accounts for nearly 40% of all USPTO patents. Health-related technologies consist of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical electronics, and medical equipment. A third broad area includes automation, control, and measuring technologies.

Several of these advanced and emerging technologies were among the fastest growing patent areas during the 2000s (table 6-8). Patents in networking grew at a nearly 20% average annual pace over the decade, information processes grew by 13%, and telecommunications and automation and control grew by 9%, compared to a 3% growth in total patents granted (appendix tables 6-45, 6-48, 6-49, 6-50, and 6-51). Other fast-growing technologies were medical electronics, semiconductors, optics, and measurement techniques and instrumentation (appendix tables 6-52, 6-53, 6-54, and 6-55).

Technologies that lagged behind overall growth in patents included pharmaceuticals, materials, and aerospace and defense (table 6-9 and appendix tables 6-56, 6-57, and 6-58). Weak activity in pharmaceuticals coincides with consolidation of the pharmaceutical industry in the last several years, stronger price and safety regulation of drugs in many developed countries, increased competition from generics, and little growth in Food and Drug Administration approval of new drugs (figure 6-42).

The next section will present patent technology activity indexes for selected regions/countries/economies, which measure the world share of a region, country, or economy in patents in a particular technology relative to its world share in all patents. A ratio greater than 1 signifies that patents by a region/country/economy are concentrated in a particular technology.

ICT: Computer Systems, Information Processes, Networking, Semiconductors, and Telecommunications. U.S. patents are concentrated in three ICT-related technologies: information processes, networking, and telecommunications, with special strength in information processes and networking (table 6-9 and appendix tables 6-45, 6-48, 6-49, and 6-50). U.S. patenting activity, however, is comparatively weak in semiconductors (appendix table 6-53).

EU patenting activity in ICT is comparatively low (table 6-9 and appendix tables 6-45, 6-48, 6-49, 6-50, 6-53, and 6-59). Several studies suggest that the EU has lagged behind the United States in ICT technology, but the pattern may also reflect a preference of EU inventors to patent in the European Patent Office. The United Kingdom is an exception in the EU with stronger activity in networking, telecommunications, and information processes, similar to the United States.

In Asia, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have similar ICT patterns, with strength in computer systems and semiconductors balanced by weaker activity in networking and information processes (table 6-9 and appendix tables 6-45, 6-48, 6-49, 6-50, 6-53, and 6-59). China has an uneven pattern in ICT technologies, with relative strength in telecommunications but average or low activity in other ICT areas. In a pattern that is consistent with an emphasis on developing ICT service industries, India scores high in all ICT areas but semiconductors.

Biotechnology, Medical Electronics, Medical Equipment, and Pharmaceuticals. The United States and the EU have relatively strong patenting activity in these health-related technologies (table 6-9 and appendix tables 6-45, 6-52, 6-56, 6-60, and 6-61). The United States is much weaker in pharmaceuticals, where the EU excels, and stronger in medical equipment.

Four of the Asian economies are very weak in these biomedical technologies (table 6-9 and appendix tables 6-45, 6-52, 6-56, 6-60, and 6-61). The exception is India, which has very strong activity in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology that coincides with its market presence in these industries.

Automation and Control, Measuring and Instrumentation, and Optics. These are areas of generally low patent activity. Relative strengths are automation and control for the United States, measuring techniques and instrumentation for the EU, and optics for Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan (table 6-9, and appendix tables 6-45, 6-51, 6-54, and 6-55). China's relative strength is in automation and control.

Aerospace and Defense and Materials. The United States and EU have a strong concentration in aerospace and defense, to which the EU adds strength in materials (table 6-9 and appendix tables 6-45, 6-57, and 6-58). This is also a strength for Japan, but the other Asian economies have comparatively low activity levels in these areas.

Patenting Valuable Inventions: "Triadic" Patents

Using patent counts as an indicator of national inventive activity does not differentiate between inventions of minor and substantial economic potential. Inventions for which patent protection is sought in three of the world's largest markets—the United States, the EU, and Japan—are likely to be viewed by their owners as justifying the high costs of filing and maintaining these patents in three markets. These "triadic patents" serve here as an indicator of higher value inventions.

The number of such "triadic" patents was estimated at about 48,000 in 2008 (the last year for which these data are available), up from 45,000 in 1999, and showing little growth after 2004 (figure 6-43 and appendix table 6-63). The United States, the EU, and Japan held basically equal shares and their nearly identical positions in triadic patents contrast with the far greater gap between them in USPTO patent grants.[29] The United States, the EU, and Japan together accounted for more than 93% of triadic patents in 1997, but that share dropped to 88% by 2008, largely reflecting a rapid rise in South Korean filings to 5% of the total.

Trademark Applications

Firms use trademarks to launch new products and services, promote their brand, signal novelty, and appropriate the benefits of their innovation. Trademarks enable companies to establish exclusive identities for their new goods and services and to distinguish their products from those of competitors. Trademarks are considered a downstream indicator of innovation, showing the efforts of firms to build brand equity in new products and services. Because the U.S. market is large and open, this section will use applications for U.S trademarks as a measure of innovation activity for both the United States and other countries.

The total number of U.S. trademark applications was about 300,000 in 2008, with 250,000 applications originating from within the United States (figure 6-44 and appendix table 6-64). The EU, Canada, Switzerland, Japan, and China are the main sources of U.S. trademark applications from outside the United States (figure 6-45). The EU had the largest number of applications from abroad with 22,000, followed by Canada (6,500). Japan and China had the most activity among Asian economies with 3,200 and 2,500, respectively.

The number of U.S. trademark applications rose 20% from 1998 to 2008, although it dropped sharply during the recession of the early 2000s, and again showed signs of slowing during the late-decade recession (figure 6-44 and appendix table 6-64). The U.S. share has fluctuated between 83% and 88%. Among foreign applications, the EU share was consistently just below 50%, and Japan's share was approximately 7%–8% for the period (figure 6-45). China's share grew from 1% in 1998 to 5% in 2008. South Korea and India, although they have growing numbers of patent grants, have little trademark activity.

Patterns in trademark applications by class may indicate innovation activity in related technology or industry areas. Classes related to KTI industries are among those with the most applications in 2008. After advertising, the scientific and measuring category had the second-largest share of applications (10%) (figure 6-46). Several other classes—insurance and finance, science and technology, R&D and computer design, pharmaceuticals, and medical services—had shares of 2%–5% each.

U.S. High-Technology Small Businesses

Many of the new technologies and industries seen as critical to U.S. innovation and economic growth are also identified with small businesses. Many large HT businesses invest in and acquire small businesses as part of their efforts to develop and commercialize new technologies. Biotechnology, the Internet, and computer software are examples of industries built around new technologies in whose initial commercialization microbusinesses—those with fewer than five employees—played an important role. Trends in the number of microbusinesses in emerging or established HT sectors may point to innovative industries with future areas of growth. This section covers patterns and trends that characterize microbusinesses operating in HT industries, based on data from the Census Bureau. Two sources of financing for HT small businesses—angel investment and venture capital investment—are also examined using data from the National Venture Capital Association and other sources.

Characteristics of Microbusinesses in U.S. High-Technology Industries

According to U.S. Census data, the number of microbusinesses in industries classified as HT by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is about 325,000, more than 60% of all firms operating in these industries (figure 6-47).[30] Services account for more than 90% (300,000) of U.S. HT microbusinesses, 20,000 operate in HT manufacturing, and 5,000 are in other industries. The proportion of services in non-HT microbusinesses is lower at 81%.[31]

The three HT services with the largest number of microbusinesses are management, scientific, and technical consulting; computer systems design; and architectural and engineering. HT manufacturing industries with large numbers of microfirms include navigational, measuring, and electromedical equipment and semiconductors (table 6-10).

The number of microfirms in BLS-classified HT industries grew much faster than in other industries from 2000 to 2008 (figure 6-48). Growth of microfirms in services classified as HT was three times that in other service industries. However, the number of microfirms in manufacturing classified as HT had a deeper decline than in other manufacturing industries.

Financing of High-Technology Small Businesses

Entrepreneurs seeking to start or expand a small firm with new or unproven technology may not have access to public or credit-oriented institutional funding. Often, they rely on friends and family for financing. However, when they need or can get access to larger amounts of financing, angel capital and venture capital investment are often critical to financing nascent and entrepreneurial HT businesses. (In this section, business denotes anything from an entrepreneur with an idea to a legally established operating company.)

An angel investor is a person who provides capital, in the form of debt or equity, from his or her own funds to a private business owned and operated by someone else who is neither friend nor family (Shane 2008). Angel investors may invest on their own as individuals or through an informal network of affiliated investors. Angel funds are more formal organizations where groups of investors pool their resources and jointly invest in businesses.

Venture capitalists pool the investments of others (typically wealthy investors, investment banks, retirement funds, and other financial institutions) in a professionally managed fund. They receive ownership equity in the companies in which they invest, and they almost always participate in managerial decisions.

Angel and venture capital investment are generally categorized into four broad stages of financing:

  • Seed and startup supports proof-of-concept development (seed) and initial product development and marketing (startup or first round).
  • Early stage supports the initiation of commercial manufacturing and sales.
  • Expansion provides working capital for company expansion, funds for major growth (including plant expansion, marketing, or development of an improved product), and financing to prepare for an initial public offering (IPO).
  • Later stage includes acquisition financing and management and leveraged buyouts. Acquisition financing provides resources for the purchase of another company, and a management and leveraged buyout provides funds to enable operating management to acquire a product line or business from either a public or a private company.

This section examines angel capital and venture capital investment patterns in the United States and internationally, focusing on the period from 2001 to 2008. The section examines (1) changes in the overall level of angel and venture capital investment, (2) venture capital investment outside the United States, (3) angel and venture capital investment by stage of financing, and (4) the technology areas that U.S. angel and venture capitalists find attractive.

U.S. angel investment. There are no sources of current, nationally representative data that directly measure U.S. angel investment. Data on U.S. angel investment have largely been restricted to samples that are not nationally representative or that rely disproportionately on angel groups and thereby exclude individual investors. This section will examine two data sources that provide some data on the level and activities of U.S. angel investment, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor's (GEM's) survey of U.S. informal investment and the Angel Capital Association.

The GEM's U.S. survey is a nationally representative survey that provides a variety of data on patterns of U.S. entrepreneurship, including informal investment. The survey asks respondents who identify themselves as informal investors about their relationship with the person that received their investment, ranging from close family members to strangers. The proportion of strangers provides a crude estimate of the level of U.S. angel investment. By that measure, U.S. angel investment was estimated at $9 billion in 2010 (figure 6-49). Estimated U.S. angel investment has fluctuated widely between 2001 and 2010, from a low of $1 billion in 2007 to a high of $9 billion in 2010.

The estimated level of angel investment is significantly lower than that of venture capital investment during this period, and anecdotal evidence suggests that HT areas receive a minority of U.S. angel investment. The returns to angel investors in lower technology industries can be very high, and many individual angel investors make limited or one-time investments, often in lower technology industries (Shane 2008).

In contrast with individual angel investors, angel networks and groups are more likely to invest a larger share in HT industries. Angel groups allow angels to exchange and analyze information about industries and talk with experts on technologies. Angel groups that pool their investments can invest larger amounts that may be required for HT industries, such as biotechnology or medical devices.

The Angel Capital Association (ACA) is a trade association of 150 leading angel groups in North America. According to ACA's survey of its members, the average investment for an ACA group fell from $1.8–$1.9 million in 2007–08 to $1.4 million in 2009 during the recession. The majority prefer to invest in the earlier stages of financing of companies, with 70%–80% reporting preferences for seed/startup or early-stage financing (figure 6-50). Financing for the later stages of business operations—expansion and later stage—is far less preferred, with 33% preferring the expansion stage and only 10% preferring later stage financing. ACA members expressed strong interest in investing in HT industries (figure 6-51). Software and medical devices have the highest level of interest, with more than 70% of members showing interest, followed by biotechnology with 60%. Half or more of members expressed interest in investing in IT services, industrial/energy, telecommunications, and networking equipment.

Venture capital investment. Data from Dow Jones Venture Capital show that global venture capital investment rose more than 40% from $28 billion in 2005 to $41 billion in 2008 (figure 6-52). It fell sharply to $28 billion in 2009 in the midst of the recession. Investment rebounded in 2010 to reach $34 billion. The United States is the main source of venture capital financing, providing nearly 80% of global investment in 2010. U.S. venture capital investment grew 29%, from $24 billion to $31 billion, during this period. U.S. investment fell sharply in 2009 before growing modestly in 2010 to reach $26 billion. U.S. venture capital investment lagged behind the growth in non-U.S. investment between 2005 and 2010. As a result, the U.S. share of global venture capital investment fell from 85% to 78% during that period.

Venture capital investment originating outside the United States grew rapidly but from a low level, nearly doubling from $4 billion in 2005 to $7 billion in 2010 (figure 6-53). China led the growth in non-U.S. venture capital investment, with its investment tripling from $1.3 billion to $4 billion during the period from 2005 to 2010. China surpassed Europe in 2006 to become the largest source of non-U.S. investment, with its share reaching more than 50% in 2010. The remaining countries and regions—Canada, Europe, Israel, and India—provide small and relatively stable amounts of venture capital, with their shares of non-U.S venture capital investment ranging from 8% to 14%.

U.S. venture capital investment by financing stage. Knowledgeable observers believe that venture capital investment has become generally more conservative during the 2000s.[32] Later stage venture capital investment has both grown in absolute terms and as a share of total investment, from $10.8 billion (50% share of total investment) in 2002 to $17.4 billion (65% share) in 2010 (figure 6-54 and appendix table 6-65). The shift to later stage, more conservative investing has been attributed to a desire for lowered investment risk, higher minimum investment levels, which typically exceed earlier stages, a shorter time horizon for realizing gains, a decline in yields of venture capital investment, and the sharp decline in IPOs and acquisitions of venture capital-backed firms, which has required venture capital investors to provide additional rounds of financing.

In 2010, U.S. venture capital investment in the early stage, consisting of seed, startup, and initiation of commercial activities, was $4.6 billion, slightly higher than its level in 2002 but well below its prerecession peak of $7.9 billion in 2007 (figure 6-54 and appendix table 6-65). The early-stage share of total venture capital investment has declined steadily, from about 33% in the late 1990s to 20%–25% for much of the 2000s, and down to 17%–19% in 2009–10. The decline in early-stage investment both in absolute terms and as a share of total investment has amplified concerns that there is a growing lack of adequate financing for very young HT firms seeking to grow and successfully commercialize their technologies.

U.S. venture capital financing by technology. Five technologies—software, biopharmaceuticals, medical devices and equipment, consumer information services, and business support services—dominate venture capital financing (table 6-11 and appendix table 6-65). During 2007–10, these five technologies accounted for more than 60% of total and early-stage investment. Software and biopharmaceuticals received the most financing, with each receiving nearly $18 billion in total financing. Total and early-stage investment in software dropped sharply (33%–44%) between 2002 and 2010, reducing software's share of venture capital investment by half. Total investment in biopharmaceuticals remained roughly flat but early-stage financing dropped from $900 million to $600 million during this period.

Medical devices and equipment were second, receiving $13 billion in total financing (table 6-11 and appendix table 6-65). Total investment in this technology increased 27% from $1.8 billion in 2002 to $2.2 billion in 2010. Consumer information services and business support services were third, receiving $10–$11 billion. Consumer information services had the fastest growth among these five technologies, with total investment rising exponentially from less than $200 million in 2002 to $4.5 billion in 2010. Growth in early-stage financing was also rapid, rising from less than $50 million to $600 million. Total investment in business support services rose by 70% from $1.5 billion to $2.7 billion, and early-stage investment more than doubled from $200 million to $500 million.


[20] OECD (2005).
[21] Definitions of innovation differ widely, but a common element is the commercialization of something that did not previously exist.
[22] The NSF BRDIS survey's definition of innovation is very similar to the OECD definition. For more information, see NSF, Business R&D and Innovation Survey,
[23] BRDIS data are not available for the entire U.S. service sector.
[24] Rather than granting property rights to the inventor, as is the practice in the United States and many other countries, some countries grant property rights to the applicant, which may be a corporation or other organization.
[25] U.S. patent law states that any person who "invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent." The law defines nonobvious as "sufficiently different from what has been used or described before that it may be said to be nonobvious to a person having ordinary skill in the area of technology related to the invention." These terms are part of the criteria in U.S. patent law. For more information, see USPTO, "What Is a Patent?" Available at Accessed 19 June 2009.
[26] The Japan Patent Office is also a major patent office but has a much smaller share of foreign patents than the USPTO and the European Patent Office.
[27] Although the USPTO grants several types of patents, this discussion is limited to utility patents, commonly known as patents for inventions. They include any new, useful, or improved-on method, process, machine, device, manufactured item, or chemical compound.
[28] Unless otherwise noted, USPTO assigns patents to countries on the basis of the residence of the first-named inventor.
[29] Triadic patent families with co-inventors residing in different countries are assigned to their respective countries/economies on a fractional-count basis (i.e., each country/economy receives fractional credit on the basis of the proportion of its inventors listed on the patent). Patents are listed by priority year, which is the year of the first patent filing. Data for 1998–2003 are estimated by the OECD.
[30] The high-technology definition used here is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and differs from that used in earlier sections. See Hecker (2005) for a definition and the methodology for determining HT industries.
[31] According to U.S. Census data, the number of U.S. microbusinesses in non-HT industries in 2008 was 3.3 million, with 2.7 million operating in service industries.
[32] Another possibility is that venture capital investor behavior changed because fewer opportunities for attractive risky investments were available in the 2000s than in the 1990s.