Venture Capital

Share This
« Back to Glossary Index
  • Rating:
  • (4743)

Venture capital (VC) is financial capital provided to 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 html"}]' tabindex='0' role='link'>business model in high technology industries. The typical venture capital investment occurs after the seed funding round as growth funding round. Venture capital is a subset of private equity. Therefore, all venture capital is private equity, but not all private equity is venture capital.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
venture capital (noun)
capital (as retained corporate earnings or individual savings) invested or available for investment in the ownership element of new or fresh enterprise - called also risk capital
Venture Capital (Wikipedia)

Venture capital (VC) is a form of private equity financing provided by firms or funds to startup, early-stage, and emerging companies, that have been deemed to have high growth potential or that have demonstrated high growth in terms of number of employees, annual revenue, scale of operations, etc.. Venture capital firms or funds invest in these early-stage companies in exchange for equity, or an ownership stake. Venture capitalists take on the risk of financing start-ups in the hopes that some of the companies they support will become successful. Because startups face high uncertainty, VC investments have high rates of failure. Start-ups are usually based on an innovative technology or business model and they are often from high technology industries, such as information technology (IT), clean technology or biotechnology.

Pre-seed and seed rounds are the initial stages of funding for a startup company, typically occurring early in its development. During a seed round, entrepreneurs seek investment from angel investors, venture capital firms, or other sources to finance the initial operations and development of their business idea. Seed funding is often used to validate the concept, build a prototype, or conduct market research. This initial capital injection is crucial for startups to kickstart their journey and attract further investment in subsequent funding rounds.

Typical venture capital investments occur after an initial "seed funding" round. The first round of institutional venture capital to fund growth is called the Series A round. Venture capitalists provide this financing in the interest of generating a return through an eventual "exit" event, such as the company selling shares to the public for the first time in an initial public offering (IPO), or disposal of shares happening via a merger, via a sale to another entity such as a financial buyer in the private equity secondary market or via a sale to a trading company such as a competitor.

In addition to angel investing, equity crowdfunding 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 early-stage companies, venture capitalists usually get significant control over company decisions, in addition to a significant portion of the companies' ownership (and consequently value). Companies such as Stripe, Airtable, and Brex are highly valued startups, commonly known as Unicorns (when a company has reached a market valuation of over $1 billion). Venture capitalists also often provide strategic advice to the company's executives on its business model and marketing strategies.

Venture capital is also a way in which the private and public sectors can construct an institution that systematically creates business networks for the new firms and industries so that they can progress and develop. This institution helps identify promising new firms and provide them with finance, technical expertise, mentoring, talent acquisition, strategic partnership, marketing "know-how", and business models. Once integrated into the business network, these firms are more likely to succeed, as they become "nodes" in the search networks for designing and building products in their domain. However, venture capitalists' decisions are often biased, exhibiting for instance overconfidence and illusion of control, much like entrepreneurial decisions in general.

About David Rashty

David Rashty, an entrepreneur and one of the early web pioneers, has over twenty years’ experience as a CTO and a CEO. David is the funder and CEO of CreativeMinds which focus on WordPress and Magento products.