In order to start a new independent business, an entrepreneur must have at least a promising idea and appropriate financial resources. Ideas to us, as they say, not to occupy. The situation with funds is more difficult.
The value of the financial factor doubles when it comes to new science-intensive developments. Such projects are usually designed for several years, require a lot of preparatory work and investments, which, unlike trade and procurement operations, will not begin to bring at least some return immediately (usually after several years of hard work in a new direction).
But even if the entrepreneur has sufficient financial resources, he must carefully consider and take into account all the consequences of a possible unsuccessful completion of the project, since the implementation of any large project, especially related to the implementation of scientific and technological innovations, is inevitably associated with a high degree of risk.
This may be, for example, a technological risk due to insufficient elaboration of individual engineering solutions or miscalculations. This may be an environmental risk caused by environmentally unpredictable consequences of using a new product or technology. These can also be purely commercial risks associated, for example, with the absence of a guaranteed market niche for its sale at the time of the start of production of new products, as well as with the need to overcome industry entry barriers, strong competition from other manufacturers or substitute products, etc. .
A generalizing indicator of various forms of risk in a market economy is the financial risk of an entrepreneur and investors who believe in his project. It characterizes the possible losses in case of unsuccessful (regardless of the specific reason) completion of the planned project. The higher the financial risk, the more difficult it is to get the missing funds for the entrepreneur and the higher the price of attracted financial resources.
However, it turned out that in the conditions of intensive scientific and technological progress, the refusal to implement risky, but at the same time promising business projects threatens in practice with much greater financial losses for the economy and society as a whole due to the possible loss of competitiveness of national producers in the foreign and domestic markets, which means – the inevitable reduction in production, a decrease in incomes of citizens and the state budget, an increase in unemployment and other negative socio-economic consequences.
Rigid economic logic led us along the path of developing such organizational and managerial decisions that, on the one hand, should have contributed to the implementation of promising, but risky business projects (including, and perhaps even primarily related to the commercialization of the most important scientific and technological achievements), on the other hand, they would allow minimizing the financial risk of individual investors, while maintaining their interest in achieving the goals set by the entrepreneur. This approach eventually materialized in venture financing mechanisms for entrepreneurial projects.
Although there are indications in the scientific literature that some venture financing schemes were used in the 1930s and even earlier, this phenomenon did not acquire its modern shape in the United States until shortly after the end of the Second World War. The prototype of modern venture capital management firms was the financial partnership “J. H. Whitney and Company, founded in 1946 by former US Ambassador to Great Britain J.H. Whitney, the American Research and Development Joint Stock Company, created in the same year under the leadership of retired Brigadier General J.F. Doriot, and the Foundation "Venrock", established in the late 40s - early 50s by the Rockefeller family.
Over the following years, the development of the venture capital business in the United States was far from uniform and was marked by a pronounced cyclicality1. Nevertheless, it is already generally recognized that he played a significant role in the fate of the most important innovations of the last third of the twentieth century. With financial support from venture capital, such, without exaggeration, outstanding achievements of mankind as microprocessors, personal computers, and the technology of recombinant DNA molecules (genetic engineering) have received a start in life.
A number of initially very small entrepreneurial firms, such as Microsoft, Digital Equipment, Genentech, have risen on venture capital leaps and bounds to the level of leaders in new industries of modern high-tech production. At the same time, many large industrial companies that have long established themselves in the market are trying to use the possibilities of the venture mechanism to identify the latest promising scientific and technical developments around the world in order to increase competitiveness and ensure diversification of production.