Free to all a Paper on Public Venture Capital

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TEN MEDITATIONS ON (PUBLIC) VENTURE CAPITAL  – REVISITED

Gordon Murray OBE
Emeritus Professor of Entrepreneurship
University of Exeter, UK
g.murray@exeter.ac.uk

ABSTRACT

This paper reflects on the policy formation process in the burgeoning area of government’s involvement venture capital finance (VC) over the two decades 2000-2020. It looks at both why and how government VC funds (GVC) have evolved. The increasingly common vehicle of ‘hybrid’ co-investment funds, which include both public and private VC investors managed by a jointly approved private fund manager, is analysed. The evolution and greater refinement of public intervention in VC markets over time is acknowledged while noting that significant operational challenges remain. There is some evidence that later iterations of GVC programmes have started to add net value which may imply a public-policy learning process. A fluctuating supply over time for venture capital finance, particularly at the earliest stages of firm formation and growth, suggests the benefits of well-designed and complementary government venture capital activity. The rubric of Ten Meditations is employed as a device to communicate both problem and prescription across the academic/policy maker divide. The paper is intended to be relevant to policy makers while grounded in robust academic research.

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