Genetically Engineered: Why Some Venture Capital Firms Are More Successful Than Others


Jennifer M. Walske, tel.: (617) 232-4714; e-mail:, and to Andrew Zacharakis at


While venture capital has received a tremendous amount of attention, prior research has predominantly looked at venture capital firms (VCFs) post raising their first fund. In this paper, we move the point of analysis back further and ask what type of founding team experience best predicts VCF success, controlling for firm strategy, firm size, and the environment upon which the firm was born. Empirical results show that venture capital, senior management, and consulting experience aids VCF success, while entrepreneurial experience impedes it. None of the control variables affect a VCF's ability to raise subsequent funds.