Over the past 60 years, the venture capital industry has expanded from a few, small partnerships primarily located in Silicon Valley and Boston into a global industry that invests more than $250 billion per year. By nearly every measure, the venture industry has boomed. Firms are raising funds 10x the size that they used to and opening offices around the world. Venture-backed startups are raising rounds that are 10x the size of rounds a decade ago, creating an ever-larger group of unicorns around the world. If there is one word that can sum up the state of the venture industry it is: growth.
In many ways, the reason for that growth is simply that success begets success. As investors have made money with venture capital, they’ve wanted to invest more. As they have invested more in venture funds, those funds have wanted to invest more in startups. As those startups have taken on more investment, they’ve been able to grow bigger and faster — making more money and continuing the cycle.
But growth means change, as any startup founder can attest. As venture capital grew up, it didn’t just do more of the same—it was transformed, and not entirely for the good.