The Economic Impact of Venture Capital: Evidence from Public Companies
44 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2015 Last revised: 8 Jul 2021
Date Written: June 2021
Venture capital-backed companies account for 41% of total US market capitalization and 62% of US public companies’ R&D spending. Among public companies founded within the last fifty years, VC-backed companies account for half in number, three quarters by value, and more than 92% of R&D spending and patent value. The US did not spawn top public companies at a higher rate than other large, developed countries prior to 1970s ERISA reforms, but produced twice as many after it. Using those reforms as a natural experiment suggests that the US VC industry is causally responsible for the rise of one-fifth of the current largest 300 US public companies and that three-quarters of the largest US VC-backed companies would not have existed or achieved their current scale without an active VC industry.
JEL Classification: G24
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