American Research and Development Corporation
|History of private equity
and venture capital
|(Origins of modern private equity)|
|(Leveraged buyout boom)|
|(Leveraged buyout and the venture capital bubble)|
|(Dot-com bubble to the credit crunch)|
American Research and Development Corporation (ARDC) was a venture capital and private equity firm founded in 1946 by Georges Doriot, the "father of venture capitalism" (former dean of Harvard Business School), with Ralph Flanders and Karl Compton (former president of MIT).
ARDC is credited with the first major venture capital success story when its 1957 investment of $70,000 in equity and approximately $2 million in loans in Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) became valued at many times the amount invested after the company's success after its initial public offering in 1966.
ARDC continued investing until 1971 with the retirement of Doriot. In 1972, Doriot merged ARDC with Textron after having invested in over 150 companies.
The firm was originally founded to encourage private sector investments in businesses run by soldiers who were returning from World War II. ARDC's significance was primarily that it was the first institutional private equity investment firm that accepted money from sources other than wealthy families although it had several investment successes as well.
Former employees of ARDC have gone on to found several prominent venture capital firms including Greylock Partners (founded in 1965 by Charlie Waite and Bill Elfers) and Morgan, Holland Ventures, the predecessor of Flagship Ventures (founded in 1982 by James Morgan).
- WGBH Public Broadcasting Service, “Who made America?"-Georges Doriot”
- Flanders, Ralph E. (1961), Senator from Vermont, Boston: Little, Brown, pp. 188–189
- The New Kings of Capitalism, Survey on the Private Equity industry
- Kirsner, Scott. "Venture capital's grandfather." The Boston Globe, April 6, 2008.