SEC Takes a Crack at Defining Venture Capital

The Securities and Exchange Commission threw out five bullet points for what makes a VC fund. Dan Primack at Fortune rounded it up.

  1. 1. VC fund must invest primarily in qualifying investments, which generally are equity securities directly acquired by the fund. There is an exempt basket of 20% of a fund’s capital commitments.
  2. 2. VC fund may not borrow or incur leverage in excess of 15% of a fund’s capital.
  3. 3. VC fund may not offer its investors redemption or other short-term liquidity outside of “extraordinary circumstances.”
  4. 4. VC fund must represent itself as pursuing a venture capital strategy.
  5. 5. Must not be registered as a business development company.

Some questions remain about what this will mean for the venture arms of large corporations. The SEC voted to approve these ground rules, but so far haven’t produced anything in writing.