SVB 2020 Startup Outlook Report

For SVB’s 11th annual Startup Outlook Report, we asked founders and executives in the US, the UK, China and Canada to share their perspectives on the year ahead. Every industry today is touched by innovation in one way or another, creating job growth, new markets and long-term opportunity.

Startups are in a positive mood at the start of 2020. But the findings also underscore challenges around raising capital, finding talent and building
more-diverse leadership teams.

Table Stakes | Highlighting and shifting the equity gap

Only 1 in 3 people in venture-backed companies is a woman, and women are granted less equity on average. Read the 2019 study using anonymized Carta data to learn what’s behind the gender equity gap.

VCs, Founders, and the Performance Gender Gap

In this paper, Dr. Raina compares the gender gap in performance between startups initially financed by syndicates led by VCs with only male GPs and startups financed by syndicates led by VCs with female GPs.

The author finds a much larger performance gap among startups financed by syndicates with only male lead GPs and shows that this disparity is driven by differences in VCs’ ability to evaluate female-led startups. The author’s findings imply that VCs contribute to the performance gender gap in startups.

VC: An American History

VC tells the riveting story of how the industry arose from the United States’ long-running orientation toward entrepreneurship.

Venture capital has been driven from the start by the pull of outsized returns through a skewed distribution of payoffs―a faith in low-probability but substantial financial rewards that rarely materialize. Whether the gamble is a whaling voyage setting sail from New Bedford or the newest startup in Silicon Valley, VC is not just a model of finance that has proven difficult to replicate in other countries. It is a state of mind exemplified by an appetite for risk-taking, a bold spirit of adventure, and an unbridled quest for improbable wealth through investment in innovation.

Tom Nicholas’ history of the venture capital industry offers readers a ride on the roller coaster of setbacks and success in America’s pursuit of financial gain.

First Round – State of Startups 2019

What started as an experiment in 2015 has since become a treasured tradition at First Round. First Round’s State of Startups is now the industry’s largest dataset on what it’s like to run a startup with 3,600+ submissions and 190,000+ data points.

In the fifth edition of this survey, First Round expanded the scope of our survey to cover not just founders but startup employees as well. Where do the founder and employee perspectives diverge and align? Where are leaders making progress — and where are founders falling short? With 950 total submissions, it’s the most detailed look yet into the challenges of operating a startup, plus new perspectives on the truth behind Glassdoor reviews, compensation packages, remote work and more.


ProjectDiane2018 is a biennial demographic study authored by digitalundivided. It reveals a snapshot of the state of Black Women Founders in the United States, and the startups they lead.

How Do Venture Capitalists Make Decisions?

In this paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, the authors survey 885 institutional venture capitalists (VCs) at 681 firms to learn how they make decisions across eight areas: deal sourcing; investment selection; valuation; deal structure; post-investment value-added; exits; internal firm organization; and relationships with limited partners.

In selecting investments, VCs see the management team as more important than business related characteristics such as product or technology. They also attribute more of the likelihood of ultimate investment success or failure to the team than to the business. While deal sourcing, deal selection, and post-investment value-added all contribute to value creation, the VCs rate deal selection as the most important of the three.

The authors also explore (and find) differences in practices across industry, stage, geography and past success. They compare the results to those for CFOs (Graham and Harvey 2001) and private equity investors (Gompers, Kaplan and Mukharlyamov forthcoming).

Venture Capital Disrupts Itself: Breaking the Concentration Curse

Conventional investor wisdom holds that a concentrated number of certain venture firms invest in a concentrated number of companies that then account for a majority of venture capital value creation in any given year. Therefore, LPs seeking compelling venture capital returns should only commit to a handful of franchise managers. And those are precisely the managers that do not offer access. Thus, LPs are “cursed” and will never experience the differentiated return pattern offered by venture capital exposure.

As the venture capital industry and technology markets have evolved and matured, however, more managers are creating significant investment value for LPs, with value increasingly created through companies located outside
the United States and across a range of subsectors.

The Economic Impact of Venture Capital: Evidence from Public Companies

This working paper from the Stanford Business School explores the economic impact of the venture capital industry.

Over the past 30 years, venture capital has become a dominant force in the financing of innovative American companies. From Google to Intel to FedEx, companies supported by venture capital have profoundly changed the U.S. economy.

Despite the young age of the venture capital industry, public companies with venture capital backing employ four million people and account for one-fifth of the market capitalization and 44% of the research and development spending of U.S. public companies. From research and development to employment to simple revenue, the companies funded by venture capital are a major part of the U.S. economy.


high-growth startups—across all 50 states and DC—raised venture funding in 2019 to build and grow their businesses.


of all U.S. IPOs from 1974 to 2015 were venture-backed companies, representing 63% of the market capitalization and 85% of R&D.

2.9 million

is the average net jobs created annually between 1980 and 2010 by high-growth startups, which account for ~50% of gross jobs created in the U.S.


U.S. venture firms are active today, managing an aggregate of $444 billion in assets.