Less than a year ago, high-tech start-ups and the venture capitalists who bankrolled them were flying high and circling each other ravenously, in great squawking flocks. So a group of young financiers thought up an enterprising venture of their own, a web site called Venturedome.com that aspires to become the online 'home for the private equity community' in the UK.
With wings devoted to start-ups, buyouts and those who love them, Venturedome includes a daily news service, an online newsletter, self-help guides, funding directories, a schmoozing network called the China Orange Club, and a recruitment centre. The site's information is ample, much of it by 'content sponsors' such as Arthur Andersen and Bank of Scotland.
Yet, like the increasingly wobbly start-up world it hosts, Venturedome seems to have become a bit down-at-heel lately. Never mind the site's typos, dead links and needlessly complex and redundant architecture. More worrying is Venturedome's brassy tone: the budding entrepreneur faces a barrage of adverts from money hawkers, and from the site itself ('Your Ad Here!') that give the site an unexpectedly cheesy feel. Like the highest-class singles bar in town, it's a good spot for newcomers to strike up acquaintances, but would they really want to call it home?