The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Just as Tattoo exclaimed “The plane! The plane!” on Fantasy Island, venture capitalists still are getting all excited about investing in “The cloud! The cloud!”

Despite all the recent problems with Amazon’s “cloud” in the Mid-Atlantic area and even burps in Apple’s iCloud where fact has trumped hype and fantasy about lack of risk, investors will continue to chase all manner of deals in the cloud shared computing space, says a new global survey of venture capitalists in a new report out Monday from financial services firm Deloitte and the National Venture Capital Association.

On a scale of 5, cloud computing registers a 3.92 interest rating from the VCs.

Software is next at 3.8.

Then comes new media and social networking at 3.72.

A close fourth is healthcare IT and services at 3.70.

Well, at least VCs appear to be getting off the cloud of Facebook/social media mania – if only slightly.

The Skinny sat in on one recent VC panel where after hearing all the gushing about social media an audience member asked if he could get funded if he outlined a plan on a napkin.

That reference to the go-go 1996-2002 net boom/bust could be asked of VCs about cloud deals these days.

As for semiconductors, forget it – dead last in 11 categories as measured by the survey at 2.52.

Telecommunications didn’t come in much better at 2.92.

Clean tech certainly has cooled off at 3.07 – third from the bottom. For every bankrupt Solyndra there isn’t a Durham-based Semprius that does really seem to have a legitimate solar technology.

Inside the Numbers

Investors in the Netherlands are the most hot about the cloud with a ranking of 4.44. India follows at 4.11 and Israel at 4.08. The U.S. VCs are lemmings, too, at 4.02.

As for social media, Israel tops the scale at 4.08 followed by the Netherlands at 3.9. U.S. VCs still have the bug at 3.74.

But in clean tech, the Solyndra headlines have hit home.

U.S. VCs rate clean tech at an abysmal 2.29, the lowest by far. Brazil is tops at 4.38 with Japan a distant second at 3.88.

Earlier today we wrote about how VCs see the U.S. as a safer haven for deals.