January 17, 2012

From CNN: Stop Vilifying Venture Capitalists

Antony Davies

Senior Affiliated Scholar
Summary

Venture-backed businesses generate a large number of good jobs because businesses that require the financial muscle of venture capital usually require the intellectual muscle of highly skilled and educated labor.

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“From 1984 to 1999, Mitt Romney was in charge at Bain Capital, an investment firm that sought out small and sometimes troubled companies that—with careful management and Bain-provided cash—offered the chance for big profits. Bain, like many venture capital firms, invested in startups with the hope that the profits they made on the successes would outweigh the losses they incurred on the failures.

“Venture capital markets are simple things. Two groups of people who want to create new businesses come together. Venture capitalists have money but lack ideas. Entrepreneurs have ideas but lack money. When they get together, they trade and new businesses are born.

“We praise entrepreneurs as forming the foundation of a vibrant economy but vilify venture capitalists as money-grubbing opportunists. Entrepreneurs pour, sweat, blood and tears into their businesses, and we cheer them when it pays off. But we don't see the risk venture capitalists take by investing in entrepreneurs, and so when venture capitalists strike it rich we assume the profit is ill-gotten gains.

“When entrepreneurs, empowered by venture capitalists, take new ideas and turn them into new products and businesses, job creation occurs. Venture-backed businesses generate a large number of good jobs because businesses that require the financial muscle of venture capital usually require the intellectual muscle of highly skilled and educated labor.”

To read the complete oped, please visit CNN.com