Venture capital represents financial investment in a highly risky proposition in the hope of earning a high rate of return. While the concept of venture capital is perhaps as old as the human race, the practice of venture capitalism has remained somewhat fragmented and individualized through its long history. Only in the last four decades or so has the field of venture capital acquired a certain coalescence, maturity and sophistication, particularly in the US.
The origin of venture capital in its modern form may be traced to General Doriot, who established the American Research and Development Fund at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1946, to finance the commercial exploitation of new technologies developed in US universities. The small business act of the US permitted the Small Business Administration to license and even support financially small business investment companies engaged in venture capital finance, provided fuel to the growth of venture capital finance.
Larger companies in the US like Xerox, 3M and General Electric entered the field with their venture capital divisions. These examples from the US stimulated the development of venture capital throughout the world. Though the initial efforts made in the early seventies to introduce venture capital were rather unsuccessful, the changed environment of the eighties witnessed a phenomenal growth of hi-tech industries and provided a fertile ground for the blossoming of venture capital.
Venture capital plays a helping hand in the financing of startup and early stage businesses, as well as businesses in “”turn around”" situations. Firms raise funds from different sources. Some funds like share capital are kept permanently in the business. Some funds like debentures are kept for long periods; while some funds are kept for short periods. The entire composition of these funds in an organization is generally termed a financial structure. Generally, the short-term funds are excluded since they are shifting often and the composition of long-term funds is known as capital structure.