Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 03/2011

Maximizing the Returns of Government Venture Capital Programs

Andrew S. Mara

February 2011

Institute for National Strategic Studies


Government investment in research and development at one point was the driving force behind new technologies. Increasingly though in the 1980's and 1990's private investment began to outpace government investment, especially in IT fields. As a result, the government began to fall out of touch with the technology industry. Recently, however, the government has created venture capital-like agencies designed to find and fund cutting-edge technologies. This paper examines how government venture capital (GVC) can provide a number of benefits to the government at large and how the existing system can be improved. In-Q-Tel, OnPoint Technologies, and DeVenCI are used to show the successes of the still young system, as well as areas that can be improved.