Gajus Worthington has seen the effect of the financial meltdown on U.S. startups, and it’s not a pretty picture.
The chief executive of Silicon Valley’s Fluidigm set out to take his chipmaker public about a month ago. On Sept. 5, the first day of the company’s road show, Worthington gave a standing-room-only presentation to blue-chip investors interested in buying Fluidigm stock. Three weeks later, after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy and panic seized investors, he pulled the plug on the initial public offering. Worthington realized he couldn’t proceed after money managers he met with in San Francisco told him they didn’t even know how long they’d have jobs. “You could smell the fear,” he says. “It was a black hole of anxiety.”