William Janeway: venture capital in the 21st century

William Janeway: venture capital in the 21st century

Investing at the Technological Frontier | #1 | Innovation in the 21st Century

A new video series explores economic growth and development through technological innovation

My goal is to contribute to the ongoing reconstruction of economics as a more relevant discipline for both practitioners and policy makers.

Dr Bill Janeway (Pembroke 1965)

The Institute for New Economic Thinking has launched a new video series, presented by Dr William H Janeway (Pembroke 1965), investor and economics scholar, based on his book Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and the course he teaches at the University of Cambridge’s M.Phil in Finance and Economics.

The eight-part series uses the practice and performance of venture capital to explore the dynamics of economic growth through technological innovation. In the series, Dr Janeway reveals the historic “Three-Player Game” played between mission-driven states and financial speculators that has successively transformed the market economy over the past 200 years.  The lectures provide context for understanding the Digital Revolution as it has unfolded since the 1990s and conclude by examining the status of the forecast Green and CleanTech Revolution.

Dr Janeway’s work on the innovation economy emphasises the complementary roles played by the state and by financial speculators to overcome fundamental uncertainty and drive the development and deployment of transformational technologies. Throughout the lectures, Dr Janeway emphasises the need for tolerance of inescapable economic waste at the frontier, where progress is only achieved through trial and error.  This existential fact sets up the tension between an efficient allocation of resources versus effective programs of research, development, and deployment. Thus, the political and financial economics of innovation challenge conventional dogma rooted in the notion of efficient markets.

“My book and this course grow out of my 35-year sabbatical from the Cambridge Faculty of Economics, years I spent as a working venture capitalist in the core of the digital and biotechnology revolutions" Dr Janeway commented.  "My experience in the trenches confirmed the relevance of Keynes’ emphasis on the radical uncertainty under which investment decisions at the frontier are necessarily made. My goal is to contribute to the ongoing reconstruction of economics as a more relevant discipline for both practitioners and policy-makers.”

The full video series is available at: www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/videos/venture-capital

William Janeway

About William Janeway

Dr William Janeway received a Marshall Scholarship to the University of Cambridge, where he matriculated at Pembroke College and received a PhD in economics in 1971. His doctoral thesis on "The Economic Policies of the Labour Government of 1929-1931" was supervised by Professor Lord Kahn. Dr Janeway is an Affiliated Member of the Economics Faculty at the University of Cambridge and Senior Advisor and Managing Director, Warburg Pincus.

Adapted from a story originally publisehd by the Faculty of Economics

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