The year 2012 saw the words “venture capitalist” thrown around in a derogatory manner, especially in regards to Gov. Mitt Romney and Bain Capital. I will be the first one to acknowledge that acquiring firms just to make profits by bankrupting them and firing all the workers without absolute necessity is a terrible thing to do. But we mustn’t forget that the VC firms have helped struggling companies by giving them the capital they require to improve their market standing and invest in technologies that will meet the challenges of the future, often saving companies from collapse.
Venture capitalist firms find opportunities to invest their money to make more money. It could be a biotechnological devices company that doesn’t have enough funds to allot to research and development or an idea from brilliant young minds that lack the financial backing and the trust of many big banks who wouldn’t lend money to them — venture capitalist firms are in business for these people and are essential because of them.
Make no mistake, profit motive is always there. When a venture capitalist firm decides to let a small company under its massive wing, it’s not looking for bad investments or silly ideas. They want something that will benefit them — an unpatented technology that can change lives, an important addition to their company portfolio, more market and, of course, money.
When a VC’s business motive to make money is soundly complemented by a moral obligation to success through a vision, it doesn’t end up in unemployed workers, dissolved companies and the VCs receiving millions of dollars, even when the firm is not doing well, like Romney’s Bain Capital continued to after many small companies got sharked by Bain.
Versant Ventures is a California-based VC that invests in early-stage medical devices and biotech firms from its $550 million fund. Versant has invested in more than 80 companies. They have created jobs in Minnesota through investing in Zyga Technology and RespiCardia, among others. These companies are finding the answers to technological challenges in the medical field.
Gordon Gekko once said, “Greed is good.” I’d agree, provided that greed is responsible and is helping people. I see no problem in VCs making money if they invest in firms that aid medicine, technology, communication and other important areas.