10 Ocak 2013 Perşembe

History of Venture Capital

The venture capital term has been an emerging concept for the last few decades. In order to show the progress we can say that in 1965 venture capitalists invested less than USD 100 million in new ventures whereby it has increased to USD 48 billion in 1999.[1] In this study we will try to show the milestones in the history of venture capital. The fundamental points that should be shown in the history of venture capital are as the follows:[2]
·         The history of venture capital is claimed by several authors that it goes back to the ancient times.
·         There was a form of partnership arrangement (modaraba) practiced in medieval Islamic society that bears a striking resemblance to the current system of venture capital investment.
·         Johannes Gutenberg, a goldsmith, had the idea of producing small, regular blocks of steel with letters on them to be used as mould to mass-produce letter blocks. However, it took many years before he convinced a businessman, Johann Fust, in 1450 to back his invention and loan him 1600 guilders.[3]
·         1492: It could be said that the first Venture Capitalist was Queen Elizabeth of Spain in 1492. She invested in her entrepreneur, Christopher Columbus, to pioneer in exploring a new continent, America.
·         1618: A group of wealthy individuals invested their money in three small companies which were set up to manufacture and distribute office equipment. The three companies were combined and called Computing Tabulating and Recording Co., Ltd, which later was changed to IBM.
·         1939: "Venture capital" was first used as a term in a public forum by Jean Witter in his presidential address to the 1939 Investment Bankers Association of America convention.[4]
·         In the 1930s and 1940s , the Rockefeller, Bessemer and Whitney families hired professional managers to seek out investment in promising young companies.[5]
·         However the close history of the venture capital starts just after the World War II
·         1946: Most experts would tend to begin a discussion of the history of venture capital with the formation of the American Research and Development Corporation in 1946. AR&DC was founded by General Georges Doriot, a French born and Harvard educated businessman who had recently left the United States Army with the rank of General.
·         1957: Doriot’s AR&DC made an investment of USD 70,000 in 1957 to provide venture capital for the startup of Digital Equipment Corporation. This USD 70,000 investment ultimately grew to have a value of USD 355 million dollars. When Digital when public in 1968, it provided AR&DC with an annual rate of return of 101%. This amazing success story provides, in some ways, the business model goal of the venture capitalist.
·         1958: The Small Business Administration became involved with the venture capitalist idea when Congress passed the Small Business Investment Act of 1958. This Act allowed the licensing of Small Business Investment Companies, called SBICs. In the years, prior to World War II, it was mostly the eccentric rich or supportive family that provided venture capital for projects that were breaking new technological ground. Since traditional lending institutions tended to shy away from such risky investments, Congress had recognized a need to encourage and enable the flow of investment capital into these areas to help keep the economy growing and the country technologically competitive.
·         1980s: By the 1980s the locus of the venture capital industry had shifted from New York and Boston on the East Coast to Silicon Valley on the West Coast. Today the ideal-typical venture capital firm is based in Silicon Valley [6] and invests largely in electronics with lesser sums devoted to the biomedical Technologies.
·         1990s: 1990s are the major years for venture capital investments. This is due to the revolutionary shift in the American economy to high tech companies.[7] This boom of the late 1990’s followed by the NASDAQ and technological bust of the early 2000’s was another roller coaster ride for venture capitalists. However, today the industry is rebounding and moving back slowly to those early levels of investment activity. As always, venture capital is financing risky, but important advances at the very cutting edge of business. Today, alternative fuels and alternative forms of energy seem to be the areas where the next Digital Equipment Corporation might emerge.

During the last 50 years a number of the fastest growing firms, particularly in the technology area, in the U.S. economy received venture capital. These include Amazon.com, America Online, Amgen, Apple Computer, Cisco Systems, Compaq, DEC, Federal Express, Genentech, Intel, Lotus, Netscape, Oracle, Seagate, Sun Microsystems, 3Com, Yahoo!, and countless others. These and other venture capital-supported firms were responsible for the establishment of entirely new industries such as biotechnology, semiconductors, database software, the Internet, hard disk drives, minicomputers, workstations, and data communications. In this way venture capital became an important part of the U.S. national system of innovation


[5] Paul A.Gompers, The Rise and Fall of Venture Capital Busıness And Economıc Hıstory, Volume 23, no. 2 Winter 1994. p.5.
[6] Martin Kenney, “The Globalization of Venture Capital: The Cases of Taiwan and Japan”,  http://www.insme.org/documenti/kenney.pdf
[7] Joel Cardis, Sam Kirschner, Stan Richelson, Jason Kirschner, Hildy Richelson, Venture Capital: The Definitive Guide for Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Practitioners, US: John Wiley and Sons, 2001, p.3.

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