Venture capital is more short-termist than what research needs

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There is an argument to be made regarding the timeline that Venture Capital is used to working with. Investment funds have a lifetime of around 10 years, and they aim at recovering their investments in a shorter amount of time, so they can move on to the next fund.

In most investment rounds I've been involved, I have seen milestones projecting a next round in around 3 to 4 years, and this is quite aligned with what [[@mazzucato2018The entrepreneurial state: debunking public vs. private sector myths]] reports. I don't have proper statistical data, but there's a feeling that it is a valid observation.

In that case, one can wonder whether the way VC is currently structured can sustain investments in research. A PhD project is longer than 3 years (except in countries like France), which then I wonder if this may be the reason.

Can proper research be conducted in less than 4 years? I think only if we focus on those projects that survive, and that started off with enough momentum. However, across the board, I think it is highly unlikely that a company with a seed round can push through a proper research cycle, considering the high degree of isolation and startup costs associated with labs and infrastructure.

Companies that need to focus on research (and not just on development) before going to market, will struggle dealing with venture capitalists. Then, the question of whether they should live off subsidies from the state, or just disappear and let publicly funded institutions do the groundwork is a different story (see: 202311280955 Socialize risks and privatize rewards).


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Aquiles Carattino
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