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Managing Venture Capital Investments

Authors: Smith, Roy C.
Issue Date: Nov-2005
Series/Report no.: FIN-05-030
Abstract: The original venture capitalists were wealthy “angels,” often entrepreneurs themselves, who funded promising business ventures that came to their attention in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. A number of these families continued to make such investments after their own capitalist progenitor died, including the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Phippes, and Whitneys and continue to be such today. In time some of these families opened their investment funds up to non-family members. In 1946, MIT president Karl Compton, Harvard Business School professor Georges Doriot and some Boston business leaders founded American Research and Development Co., the first independent firm to enter the VC business. Subsequently a number of other independent firms were formed, especially in the Boston and San Francisco areas, to manage equity investments in promising new sectors of the economy, especially technology. Most of the money given to them to manage came from wealthy families, university and other endowments, and a limited number of inancial institutions. The firms stayed in touch with each other, invested together, and shared information. The amount of new investment flowing into these venture capital firms grew, but never exceed a few hundred million dollars through the 1970s.
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