Cooling interest in Internet stocks is unlikely to stem the flow of investment bankers seeking a new job in Net start-ups. Rather, the skills that make them attractive to on-line firms will no longer be enough to secure positions in an ever-more demanding industry. Frank Au - ex-Asian head of media and telecommunications research at Lehman Brothers Asia - said the Internet industry's low entry barriers had so far explained why investment bankers, who did not generally have operational experience, were among the first to be recruited. 'There are only two basic things that allow you to get into these markets, a business plan and capital,' said Mr Au, president and co-founder of Pacific NetMarkets, an on-line marketplace-builder and operator. 'The skill set [required] is very similar to [the strengths] of investment bankers. 'Those barriers will not always be low though, they will rise over time. At some point in time, I don't know if it's six months out or nine months out, there will be competitors.' Not only will the market become more competitive, entrepreneurs will also find seed capital harder to come by as investors become more selective in the wake of the stock market correction. Investment bankers have been leaving in droves to join Internet companies, apparently lured by the promise of making fast money from once-soaring stock prices. But industry players say this misses the real attractions - and the risk. 'There's more work, there's less salary, and certainly there's less security.' That is how Jack Capocci, ex-managing director and Pacific Rim controller of Bear Stearns Asia described his move to vice-president of finance of I-Quest, which provides high-speed Internet access solutions to hotels. Although investment bankers typically receive potentially lucrative stock options after they join Internet companies to compensate for lower salaries, they would have to assume the risk inherent in the industry. 'The reality is most people who have option programmes, it takes at least two to three years to process,' Daniel Widdicombe, chief finance officer at I-Quest, said. The real attraction, industry players say, is Internet companies are places where investment bankers can put their business plans to test in the real world. 'Everyday I go to work, I win and I lose, whereas in banking you never really lose, you never really win,' said Mr Au. 'You better believe in what you're doing, and you better believe that you can run a company that can make money.'