Sunday, May 4, 2008

General Georges Doriot: The First Venture Capitalist

General Doriot is known as the father of the venture capital industry. I learnt this last week at a very interesting afternoon session discussing the future of Venture Capital in MA run by Vinit Nijhawan at ITEC/Boston University.

Georges Doriot is an interesting story. He was a Frenchman who became a US citizen, Doriot was born in Paris in 1899. In 1920, he came to the US, and got an MBA got an MBA in the USA, and became a Professor at Harvard Business School in 1926. He became a U.S. citizen in 1940. He joined the Army, working on military R&D and Planning, and was promoted to Brigadier General. He returned to Harvard in 1946, and founded the American Research and Development Corporation (AR&D), the first venture capital firm, raising $3 million. AR&D went public and invested in 150 companies. In 1972, AR&D was merged with Textron after investing in over 150 companies. One of his investments was in Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), one of his most successful investments. Doriot also founded INSEAD in 1957. He died of lung cancer in 1987 in Boston, Massachusetts.

France. Harvard Professor. Publicly traded venture capital. I would never have guessed that such an important industry would have started this way.

1 comment:

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