Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Risk Capital"

My American readers may not be familiar with this term, but this the direct translation of the Hebrew term for “venture capital.” Does this explain the relative riskiness of early stage, Israeli high tech companies? Probably not…but it certainly explains some of the indignant responses of entrepreneurs as I reject their venture on the basis of being too risky.

Few would believe how many entrepreneurs have told me with a straight face that they thought my job was to take big risks. They find my rationale for rejecting the opportunity to be inconsistent with the very nature of my business, and thus completely incoherent. As far as I see it, my job is to reduce, eliminate and manage investment risks, until these risks seem acceptable given an expected return. I have no idea who first coined this pejorative Hebrew term, but it was likely a journalist unfamiliar with business, or perhaps it was a nefarious ploy by a dying socialist to ward off Israeli financial institutions from investing in risky capital.

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