Posts Tagged ‘Financial Times’

Georges Doriot Still Making News

December 5, 2009

Georges Doriot, the founding father of the venture capital industry and subject of my book Creative Capital, continues to pop up in the news. On Dec. 1, in the Financial Times, Luke Johnson, founder of the British private equity firm Risk Capital Partners, wrote an editorial, “A call to arms for ex-soldiers in business,” about the unique role that the military has played, and continues to play, in spurring innovation.

Johnson credits Doriot as the pioneer of the VC industry and for forming the “link between the military and venture capital.” As I argue in my book, Doriot learned how to become a VC during the war when he was in charge of research and development in the Quartermaster Corps of the U.S Army.

As further proof of his theory, Johnson mentions a new book, Start-up Nation, which explores the role that the Israeli military and social networks and leadership training provided by Israel’s mandatory military and reserve service has helped foster a vibrant entrepreneurial culture in the middle of the world’s most chaotic region. (At one point I considered calling my book Start-up Nation, too!)

For Doriot’s singular efforts, he was promoted to the high rank of brigadier general and was received the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest U.S. military medal given to a noncombatant, as well as being decorated a Commander of the British Empire and awarded the French Legion of Honor.

Also, the New England Journal of Technology recently ran an interview with Leo Beranek, a cofounder of BBN Technologies, a landmark technology company that was a leader in computer networking and communications. The interview was done by MassTLC chairman Steve O’Leary and Mass High Tech editor E. Douglas Banks. Beranek was presented with the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council Commonwealth Award for lifetime achievement.

In the interview, Beranek is asked if he remembered Doriot. He replied:

“Venture capitalism really didn’t start until General Doriot came into the picture with the American Research and Development Corporation. But until then the banks were doing it. The banks were not taking any stock. They just lent you money, so they didn’t get to make any big profits from it.”

“Well, General Doriot was of course with the big venture capital firm, American Research and Development. He was very famous and very powerful because he was financing all these companies of which Digital Equipment is his most successful.”

And then he goes on to recount an amusing anecdote, which I never heard, about how Doriot threatened to sue BBN after they poached a star employee of one of the companies Doriot had invested in.


Financial Times Reviews Creative Capital

April 17, 2008

So I got my first book review!!!

This morning, Martin Arnold from the Financial Times wrote a nice review of Creative Capital, titled “The Frenchman who funded US start-ups.”

Here’s a snippet of the review:

“French politicians often look enviously across the Atlantic at the entrepreneurial successes of the US economy, such as Google, Apple, Intel and Microsoft. So it is a heavy irony that the man who founded the US venture capital industry, helping to create many multibillion-dollar companies, came from France.

In Creative Capital , Spencer Ante, a Business Week journalist, recounts the life of a true 20th- century Renaissance man, Georges Doriot, pictured below.

Aged 21, Doriot sailed by steamship to the US from his native France and went on to become a brigadier general in the second world war, one of the most influential professors at Harvard Business School and founder of Insead, Europe’s first business school.

But his main achievement was to pioneer the US venture capital industry in 1946 by setting up American Research & Development (ARD), which backed one of the first blockbuster technology start-ups, Digital Equipment Corporation.

. . .

This book will appeal to anyone interested in the origins of venture capital, why its centre of gravity moved from the Boston area to the west coast, or what it takes to succeed as a VC investor.

But, amid today’s financial turmoil, in which venture capital has been relegated to almost a footnote in the alphabet soup of global finance, the tale of Doriot’s life is also a timely testament to the courage and determination of an investment pioneer.”

Click here to read the full review.