Exponential Center

Venture Capital Initiative

There has never been a better time than now to start a new company, and never a better place to do it than in Silicon Valley with an exponential state of mind.

— John Doerr, Chairman, Kleiner Perkins, at the Exponential Center Launch 2016

The Exponential Center is leading an ambitious program to capture and share the stories of pioneering venture capitalists and their partnerships with disruptors and innovators that extend from idea to IPO and beyond. The companies they have created together have led to new industries and jobs, generated tremendous wealth, and changed the way we live. Through a variety of activities that capitalize on the Museum’s core strengths, the center will explore what the industry does, how it works, and what happens when venture capitalists and entrepreneurs join forces to create a company.

Voices of Venture

We are actively adding oral histories of key players in venture capital to the Museum’s renowned collection. They will be available to researchers and for events and educational programs designed to share key insights about the industry. Video interviews and transcripts are freely available online. See the full list of CHM venture capital oral histories.

We have also expanded our venture collection to include the investment banking community, a critical piece of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Investment bankers not only guide young companies through the IPO (Initial Public Offering) process, but they also play a critical role in helping to raise capital to fund rapid growth, identify potential partners, and negotiate acquisitions. Learn how financial innovation can be a powerful tool in helping support a vibrant economy by exploring the full list of CHM investment banking oral histories.

New Collections

NVCA-Venture Forward Oral History Collection

Through a new partnership with the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), the Exponential Center has received copyright ownership of 33 noteworthy oral histories of pioneering venture capitalists that will be preserved and made accessible online. Transfer of additional oral histories is currently underway. This collection is particularly noteworthy in that it includes some of the very earliest venture capitalists, such as Walter Curley of JH Whitney and Paul Wythes of Sutter Hill, both of whom are deceased.

Click on the links below to access individual oral history transcripts or see the full list in the CHM catalog.

New Approaches

The Exponential Center is pursuing oral histories that capture the full scope of a venture firm’s evolution and impact by interviewing founders and key partners. To explore the relationship between iconic companies and their funders, the center also conducts joint oral histories with investors, entrepreneurs, and executives.

Venture Events

Events onsite and online reach audiences across the US and around the world. Past venture capital events at the Museum explored Reid Hoffman’s concept of blitzscaling, the early years of the industrypost-mortems of failures, and generations of change in the industry.

Preserving Venture

To provide the rich context necessary for an in-depth understanding of venture’s history and impact, the Exponential Center is actively adding unique artifacts and documents related to the venture capital industry to CHM’s collections. They include key documents, photos, videos, and ephemera, such as: founding charters, original names and initial logo designs, pitch decks, business plans, product plans, early product prototypes, key deals, public offering documents, and advertisements.

Collections are made available to the media, authors, researchers, and the general public and are used to create compelling exhibits as well as provide context for events and live programs at CHM.

Researching Venture

The Exponential Center’s inaugural Distinguished Fellow was Sebastian Mallaby, whose new book project, to be published by Penguin, is aimed at a broad audience and explores venture capital’s role throughout history. Born in Britain, Mallaby is a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who has served as a columnist for the Washington Post and Financial Times. His work has appeared in publications such as the Wall Street Journal and the Atlantic and he has been a guest on radio shows such as NPR’s Morning EditionMarketplace, and Planet Money. Previous books include The Man Who Knew (2016), More Money Than God (2010), and The World’s Banker (2004). Mallaby’s year-long fellowship concluded in July 2019.

Read more about the Venture Capital Initiative.


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