) -- Next year should be a great time to start a clean-technology company and a lousy time to open a semiconductor business, according to a new report from the

National Venture Capital Association


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In a survey of more than 325 venture capitalists across the U.S., 54% of respondents predicted an increase in clean-technology investments in 2010, and 65% projected a decrease in semiconductor-sector funding.

This has been a cold year for initial public offerings, which fuel venture-capital firms. Eleven U.S. startups filed pre-IPO paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission since Oct. 28. There may be 25 venture-backed IPOs next year, according to the median prediction in the National Venture Capital Association survey.

The majority of respondents reported a focus on Asia, with 70% predicting an increase in China and 58% projecting a rise in India.

Forty-four percent of VCs said they expect dollar investments to increase slightly (between $21 billion and $25 billion), and 49% said they expect their firm to invest in more portfolio companies than in 2009. That news seems better for late-stage companies than for startups. Fifty-five percent of respondents predicted an increase in growth equity funding and 53% in late-stage companies, while only 45% each predicted an increase in early-stage and seed funding.

That said, a whopping 87% predicted that U.S. VCs would raise fewer funds in 2010 than in previous years, and 47% saw an increase in foreign limited partners.

-- Reported by Carmen Nobel in Boston.