The History of Private Financing
Although variations of private equity investment have existed for centuries, the first professional private equity investments date back to the American Research and Development Corporation. In 1946, the American Research and Development Corporation, led by Georges Doriot, Karl Compton, and Ralph Flanders, launched a $4 million fund. The fund was the first of its kind as it pooled money from both institutions and high net-worth individuals for investments in private companies. By the time that Doriot had retired in 1971, ADRC had made over 150 private company investments, including the first major institutional venture capital success when its portfolio company, Digital Equipment Corporation, provided a significant return upon exit in a 1966 initial public offering. Georges Doriot is now known as the “father of venture capitalism”.