The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. The old Kenny Rogers song The Gambler has a line in it that goes "You’ve got to know when to hold’em." That’s the current situation with Canada’s venture capital community. There isn’t much out there to bet on, so they’re stand-ing pat until the cards get a little better. (One might actually say they’re waiting for the cards to get a lot better because they don’t want to get snakebitten again.) To illustrate the current environment, the total amount of venture capital invested in the communications sector dropped by nearly half from just over $1 billion in 2001 to $673 million in 2002. Investment in early stage companies from all sectors also decreased significantly, dropping from about $2.3 billion in 2001 to just over $1 billion in 2002. However, two years down the road that situation might be dramatically different. In an interview with Report on Wireless to discuss the Wireless Connections 2003 conference taking place in Calgary next month, SpringBank TechVentures principal Barb Richardson said the industry is at a new beginning. This fresh start is centred around the wireless operators’ faster networks. Two years ago, Canadian wireless carriers were still testing their 2.5G networks. Today, all four national wireless operators and the major regional players have rolled out faster networks in major centres. As Richardson told RoW, two years from now content developers could be on the podiums at major conferences telling delegates how they are profiting from wireless data services. The carriers could also be boasting about how wireless data makes up 20% of their entire revenue base as opposed to the low single digits it occupies today. Now, this is simply speculation at this point. But we should take comfort in the fact this message isn’t coming from the carriers or the content providers themselves. Moreover, venture capitalists, still shell shocked from the latest telecom crash and the significant loss in investments, won’t be blowing smoke. While they may take a drag and consider anteing up for the next hand, it’s more likely they’ll keep folding until the cards get better.