Thursday, July 03, 2008

TBAR, Venture Capital and Economic Growth

TBAR, the Texas Business and Arts Renaissance, is not just about the arts. We should expect a renaissance in business as a result of our investments in education. But what we want and what we expect will not fall into our laps, we need to reach out and get it. A renewed focus in venture capital can help the Texas economy grow.

The New York Times, on Sunday June 1, 2008, ran an article, Venture Capital, Before High Tech, by Stephen Kotkin. The article is about a book, Creative Capital by Spencer E. Ante, that is about Georges F. Doriot.

There are books and articles, to be sure, about venture capital, but this quote from Doriot is why I mention this book: "I am building men and companies." Building something that lasts is what is missing in today's economy. If we increase the prosperity of Texas, it should be a lasting achievement, not a fly-by-night boom and bust like Enron.

There are several things we might surmise from the sub-prime mortgage meltdown on Wall Street. (1) There are a lot of investors who have trouble finding good investments for their money. (2) There appears to be a shortage of startups: Texas and America need more growing businesses that can blossom with investment. (3) If there is not a shortage of businesses that could benefit from investment, then perhaps there is a shortage of wise men, like Doriot, who know what businesses and people are worth backing.

Texas needs to work harder at encouraging its citizens to start businesses. Texas needs better ways to connect wealth to promising businesses.

Texas can have a renaissance in business, and a better venture capital infrastructure might be part of our success story.


PS: I have heard the theory that the lack of good investments was due to the presence of too much money in the system after Alan Greenspan drove the interest rate from the Federal Reserve down to essentially zero. Nevertheless, the money was there, but good investments were not.

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