In its broadest sense, a lump of cash which is given to a firm in its early days to allow it to grow, in return for a stake in the company. More specifically, people often refer to Venture Capitalists and Venture Capital firms (or VCs). Venture capital firms usually have a particular remit (i.e. fintech firms, health tech firms, early stage, late stage, etc.).
The idea of a stand-alone venture capital firm which makes money by investing in a portfolio of early stage businesses has been around for many years. In principle, these firms invest in a range of businesses on the assumption that while some will fail, enough will succeed to make the overall venture successful.
More recently, venture capital arms of established businesses have become popular (like banks and insurance companies). These firms have a slightly different remit. They are tasked with finding businesses to invest in which will grow and provide a return on their investment, but also will potentially provide new propositions and solutions for the wider group business. These functions sit between true venture capital businesses, and innovation functions which are focussed on partnerships as a way for start-ups to secure funding and support.
Some VC firms have acquired a reputation for going from friendly business buddies to aggressive (and even litigious) combatants in very short order when a company’s growth projections don’t materialise.
Disagree or want to add something? What does Venture Capital mean to you?