Venture capital (VC) is financial capital provided to early-stage, high-potential, high risk, growth startup companies. The venture capital fund makes money by owning equity in the companies it invests in, which usually have a novel technology or business model in high technology industries, such as biotechnology, IT, software, etc. The typical venture capital investment occurs after the seed funding round as growth funding round (also referred to as Series A round) in the interest of generating a return through an eventual realization event, such as an IPO or trade sale of the company. Venture capital is a subset of private equity. Therefore, all venture capital is private equity, but not all private equity is venture capital.
In addition to angel investing and other seed funding options, venture capital is attractive for new companies with limited operating history that are too small to raise capital in the public markets and have not reached the point where they are able to secure a bank loan or complete a debt offering. In exchange for the high risk that venture capitalists assume by investing in smaller and less mature companies, venture capitalists usually get significant control over company decisions, in addition to a significant portion of the company’s ownership (and consequently value).
Venture capital is also associated with job creation (accounting for 21% of US GDP), the knowledge economy, and used as a proxy measure of innovation within an economic sector or geography. Every year, there are nearly 2 million businesses created in the USA, and only 600–800 get venture capital funding. According to the National Venture Capital Association, 11% of private sector jobs come from venture backed companies and venture backed revenue accounts for 21% of US GDP.
It is also a way in which public and private actors can construct an institution that systematically creates networks for the new firms and industries, so that they can progress. This institution helps in identifying and combining pieces of companies, like finance, technical expertise, know-hows of marketing and business models. Once integrated, these enterprises succeed by becoming nodes in the search networks for designing and building products in their domain.