This paper reviews the existing literature on venture capital and private equity. The paper emphasises the importance of examining venture capital in the light of recent developments in corporate finance and its distinctiveness from other forms of finance. In order to understand current developments, the paper adopts a framework which combines industry/market and firm levels of analysis. Existing literature is reviewed using this framework. Industry level issues relate to rivalry between firms, the power of suppliers and customers, and the threats from new entrants and substitutes. Firm level issues concern deal generation, initial and second screening, valuation and due diligence, deal approval and structuring, post-contractual monitoring, investment realisation, and entrepreneurs’ exit and recontracting with venture capitalists. This is followed by a review of the evidence on the performance of venture capital firms. The paper suggests potentially fruitful areas for further research including the extension of analysis to cover all stages of venture capital investment, examination of the inter-linkages between industry and firm level issues and between stages in the venture capital process, as well as further analysis of deal structuring issues and investment realisation and recontracting.