VC/PE Investing Has Positive Economic and Social Impact

Venture capital and private equity’s social and economic impact has been widely studied in various countries. Even though the results slightly vary, the main message is clear – VC/PE investing accelerates portfolio companies’ growth and has a significant impact on country’s economic growth. At the same time VC/PE investing has been a very profitable asset class for the Finnish pension institutions.

More information on the returns of Finland’s largest pension institutions at

Tomi Alén: The Impact of Venture Capital and Buyout Investments in Finland – 2012

Highlights from the study:

VC/PE investing accelerates growth:

  • Sales growth 9 percentage points (PPT) faster on average
  • Employment growth double as fast, i.e. 6 PPT faster on average
  • Added value growth 6 PPT faster on average

VC/PE investing accelerates internationalization and strengthens company’s board:

  • VC/PE investment increases portfolio companies’ export intensity and the number of foreign board members
  • The board members are more experienced, on average, when measured by age and number of outside directorships.

Below is a summary and a presentation of the study in Finnish.

FVCA Vaikuttavuustutkimus 2012 Tiivistelmä (pdf) (207.7 KB)

FVCA Vaikuttavuustutkimus 2012 esitys Alen 20120314 (pdf) (368.3 KB)

Pepperdine University & Institute for Exceptional Growth Companies: Did They Build That? The Role of Private Equity and Venture Capital in Small and Medium-sized Businesses - 2012

John Paglia and Agus Harjoto, associate professors of finance at Pepperdine’s Graziadio School of Business and Management, studied the performance of 8,669 establishments (individual workplaces) with fewer than 500 employees that received private capital financing between 1995 and 2009. During the five years following a financing event, the 6,815 establishments that received private equity:

  • Generated a revenue increase that was $7 million higher (129 percent more) than a control group of non-backed establishments of similar size and characteristics. This translated into an 11.6 percent compound annual growth rate versus 5.7 percent.
  • Created 36 more new jobs (257 percent higher) than the control group — a 5.6 percent compound annual growth rate versus a 1.8 percent rate for the control group.

The results were even more dramatic for the 1,854 recipients of venture capital. During the five years after their financing event, these establishments:

  • Generated an increase in revenue that was $24.7 million higher (846 percent more) than non-backed counterparts. This translated into a 36.4 percent compound annual growth rate versus a 6.9 percent rate for non-funded establishments.
  • Created 127 more new jobs (608 percent higher) than non-backed establishments —a 22.4 percent compound annual growth rate versus a 4.5 percent rate for the control group.

AFIC: Testimonial/manifesto of PE and VC-backed entrepreneurs - 2012

The French Private Equity Association (AFIC) launched a testimonial/manifesto of PE and VC-backed entrepeneurs. It has received over 550 endorsements from entrepreneurs, representing more than 367 925 employees.

The manifesto translated in English reads:

"We, entrepreneurs in companies of all sizes, regions and industries, all had an entrepreneurship project : venture, expansion or buyout. PE and VC professionals believed in us. They brought us the equity we needed, became our partners, and shared our risks over a long period of time.

Not only did they bring money: we also benefited from their expertise in creating and expanding companies. They supported us, including in difficult times. Through their advice, their ideas, and their rigorous approach as well, they helped us to build stronger companies, with a strong future and active employers.

We can testify that, in their job as engaged investors they are very remote from speculative finance. At the time when their industry is in dire straits, squeezed by a drought in funds, bashed by ignorance of their actual role in growing the economy, each of us wants to make public our support to them.

Without VC and PE, our companies would not be what they have become, and our jobs would not be as many."

The original AFIC document

The updated list of signatories is available at AFIC's website (

Ernst & Young: Branching out - How do private equity investors create value - A study of European exits - 2012

Highlights from the study:

  • 87% of realized investments generated a positive return for investors
  • The gross return on these PE investments outperformed investments in comparable public companies by a factor 3.6 times
  • 45% of returns attributed to PE strategic and operational improvements
  • PE was able to improve productivity by 6.9% per year across all European markets
  •  Employment grew by an average of 2.2% per annum under PE ownership.$FILE/Euro_PE_Study_2012.pdf

BVCA / Experian: Exploring the success of VC-backed companies - 2012

The report tracks the performance of a sample of companies backed by venture capital  since 2006, and compared it with a benchmark sample of comparable companies, based on size and sector.

Key findings include:

Venture capital-backed businesses showed stronger turnover growth between 2006 and 2010 than other enterprises, with VC-backed companies trebling sales compared with more modest growth at comparable companies. Profit growth was also stronger at VC-backed businesses.

Job creation was also much stronger within VC-backed companies, with an 80% rise in employment over the four year sample period. In comparison, other enterprises saw very little change in overall employment numbers.

Overall, gross profit margin at VC-backed companies was broadly comparable with other enterprises. Turnover per employee - a proxy for productivity - was also broadly similar over the sample period as a whole.

Colin Ellis, Chief Economist of the BVCA, said: "This study looks at a matched sample of VC-backed companies with other enterprises in the UK; these data can be very difficult to find. The study shows that VC-backed businesses have outperformed their peers, but without enjoying vastly higher margins. This suggests that VC-backed companies are good at winning market share, thereby putting themselves on a sustainable footing going forwards."

Adam Swash, Head of Strategy and Research at Experian, said: "This report shows the impact venture capital can have and shows the importance of venture capital has for the future growth of UK plc. "

NVCA: Venture Impact study: The Economic Importance of Venture Capital-Backed Companies to the U.S. Economy - 2011

Highlights from the US study:

  • For every dollar of venture capital invested from 1970 to 2010, $6.27 of revenue was generated in 2010.

  • Annual venture investment equals less than 0.2 % of U.S. GDP. Annually, VC-backed companies have generated revenue equal to 21 % of U.S. GDP.

  • 11.9 million venture-backed jobs today, representing 11% of U.S. Private Sector Employment

  • $3.1 trillion in venture-backed revenue generated annually representing 10% of Total U.S. Sales

VICO Project: Venture Capital - Policy lessons from the VICO project - 2011

A seven-country European study showed that VC investors had a considerable positive effect on the growth, productivity, as well as investment and innovation performance of their portfolio firms which were high-tech start-ups. Experienced VC managers, independent VC firms and cross-border syndication proved to be especially beneficial for the portfolio firm growth.

SVCA: Private Equity Performance Study - 2011

Highlights from the study:

  • Private equity portfolio companies created SEK 75 billions of Value Added in 2010, corresponding to 2.3% of Sweden’s GDP, and the average buyout portfolio company increased its Value Added by 10.1% annually compared to 3,4% for the group of listed small cap companies

  • 7.5% of private sector employees now work for private equity portfolio companies

  • Median employment growth over the period from 2007 to 2010 was 4.1% in buyout portfolio companies and 5.1% in venture backed companies, compared to just 0.4% in listed small cap companies

  • Turnover growth in buyout portfolio companies has outstripped peers by over 4 percentage points

  • The venture capital industry continues to provide support to Swedish start-ups with over 600 venture backed firms, employing 18,000 people

ASCRI / CDTI / PwC: Economic and Social Impact of Venture Capital & Private Equity in Spain - 2011

Highlights from the study:
  • In employment terms, the 171 companies identified as receiving VC&PE in 2005 increased their workforce by 7,771 over a three-year period, whilst control group ended the period with 941 workers less. In relative terms, the former grew by an annual 10.7%, the latter by -4.4%.

  • Similar differences can be seen in sales and gross margin, with annual growth of more than 8% in the case of VC&PE backed companies, against a 7.7% decline in sales in the control group.

  • The differences are even more marked in the evolution of total assets, where there were increases of a yearly 13% in companies backed by VC&PE and a 3.4% fall in similar non VC&PE backed ones. This was even greater with intangible assets, where the former had a 33.9% increase against a 16.7% fall in the latter.
  • Corporate tax collection figures show a negative evolution in both groups, as was to be expected from the change from a year of expansion (2005) to another of recession (2008). Nevertheless, the control group recorded 28% fall against 10.9% observed in those with VC&PE backing.

  • Regarding value added tax (VAT) and personal income tax, the amounts raised by government authorities are greater from the investee companies, whereas the opposite occurs with control group. Regarding VAT, based on the increase in sales in constant currency, the amount paid is estimated to increase by 195 million euros in the 171 VC&PE investee companies between 2005 and 2008, whereas it declines by 59 million in control group. Similarly, based on payroll expenses in constant currency, the amount raised in the personal income tax increases by 30 million in the VC&PE backed group in the same period, with the control group showing a reduction of 3 million euros.

Deutsche Bank Research:  Venture capital adds economic spice - 2010

Highlights from the study:

  • Venture capital injects economic dynamism: An increase in VC investments of 0.1% of GDP is statistically associated with an increase in real GDP growth of 0.30 percentage point

  • Early-stage investments have an even bigger impact of 0.96 percentage point

  • The direction of causality is not always easy to establish. Yet, tests for Granger-causality in the biggest market, the US, suggest that causality runs from VC-investments to growth. There is also substantial micro evidence that supports this view.

  • Exuberances drive much of the correlation. Taking account of the dotcom boom and bust as well as of the financial crisis leads to lower coefficients

NVCA / Menon: Capital working for economic growth: Economic impact on the Norwegian economy - 2008

Highlights from the study:

  • When it comes to value added growth, we observe a typical j-curve pattern for VC and PE- owned firms. They slightly underperform in the short term (1 year), somewhat more in the medium term (3 years), but outperform other firms in the long run (5 year).

  • Both turnover and employment grow faster in the short, medium and the long term.
  • After 5 years, VC and PE-owned firms have grown by 57 percentage points more than other firms, in terms of turnover.

  • For employment, the growth is more than 3 times larger than in the rest of the economy.