Will Gornall & Ilya A. Strebulaev’s recently updated research article published in SSRN discusses the economic impact of venture capital with evidence from public markets.
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.