American Research and Development Corporation

American Research and Development Corporation (ARDC) was a venture capital and private equity firm founded in 1946 by Georges Doriot, the former dean of Harvard Business School and "father of venture capitalism",[1] with Ralph Flanders[2] and Karl Compton (former president of MIT).

Maynard MA Clock Tower Place
DEC was headquartered at a former wool mill in Maynard, Massachusetts, from 1957 until 1992, the first major venture capital success story.

ARDC is credited with the first major venture capital success story when its 1957 investment of $70,000 in equity ("70% of the company")[3] 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 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 as had J.H. Whitney & Company and Rockefeller Brothers although it had several investment successes as well.[4]

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).[5]

See also


  1. ^ WGBH Public Broadcasting Service, “Who made America?"-Georges Doriot”
  2. ^ Flanders, Ralph E. (1961), Senator from Vermont, Boston: Little, Brown, pp. 188–189
  3. ^ DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION - Nineteen Fifty-Seven To The Present (PDF). Digital Equipment Corporation. 1975.
  4. ^ The New Kings of Capitalism, Survey on the Private Equity industry
  5. ^ Kirsner, Scott. "Venture capital's grandfather." The Boston Globe, April 6, 2008.

The abbreviation ARDC may refer to:

Air Research and Development Command, later renamed the Air Force Systems Command

American Racing Drivers Club, a midget car racing sanctioning body in the East Coast of the United States

American Research and Development Corporation, an early venture capital investment firm founded in 1946

Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, professional administrative entity that governs licensing and disciplinary actions for attorneys licensed to practice in the state of Illinois

Allied Record Distribution Company (ADRC), a record company from the 1960s

Australian Racing Drivers Club - controller of motor sports in Australia

Auxiliary Repair Dock, Concrete of the US Navy

Early history of private equity

The early history of private equity relates to one of the major periods in the history of private equity and venture capital. Within the broader private equity industry, two distinct sub-industries, leveraged buyouts and venture capital experienced growth along parallel although interrelated tracks.

The origins of the modern private equity industry trace back to 1946 with the formation of the first venture capital firms. The thirty-five-year period from 1946 through the end of the 1970s was characterized by relatively small volumes of private equity investment, rudimentary firm organizations and limited awareness of and familiarity with the private equity industry.

Georges Doriot

Georges Frédéric Doriot (September 24, 1899 – June 1987) was a French-born American venture capitalist. An émigré from France, Doriot became director of the U.S. Army's Military Planning Division, Quartermaster General, during World War II, eventually being promoted to brigadier general. In 1946, he founded American Research and Development Corporation, the world's first publicly owned venture capital firm, earning him the sobriquet "father of venture capitalism". In 1957, he founded INSEAD, the world's top global graduate business school with campuses in Fontainebleau (France), Singapore and Abu Dhabi.

Greylock Partners

Greylock Partners is one of the oldest venture capital firms, founded in 1965, with committed capital of over $3.5 billion under management. The firm focuses on early-stage companies in the consumer, enterprise software and infrastructure as well as semiconductor sectors.

Henry W. Hoagland

Henry W. Hoagland (1912-1995) was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and attended Stanford University and Harvard Business School. During World War II he served with the Military Planning Division of the Quartermaster Corps. In 1946 he obtained a job with the Field Service Staff of the Republican National Committee, in which he campaigned for Republican congressmen in marginal districts. During 1947 and 1948 he was Deputy Director of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. In August 1948 he resigned from the Committee to campaign for Republican congressional candidates. After the 1948 election Hoagland obtained a job with the American Research and Development Corporation of Boston, Massachusetts, where he worked for over twenty years. However, he continued to be active in Republican politics, and took frequent leaves of absence from his job to help with Republican campaign work.

Down to 1954 Hoagland continued to assist Republican candidates in marginal districts, particularly in Indiana, Ohio and Colorado. In 1954 he began to work as an advance man for President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s campaign trips. In this capacity he would go to cities that the President was planning to visit and make all the local arrangements. He helped arrange for coverage of the visit by local news media. He helped plan the route of the President’s motorcade and convinced local businesses to allow their employees to leave work at the time of the motorcade so large crowds could be assembled as the President passed. Hoagland also met with local Republican leaders to determine who would travel with the President or sit with him at local events, a matter of great importance to politicians who hoped to gain recognition by being seen with the President. Hoagland kept extensive notebooks regarding his work as an advance man, and also collected schedules and local newspaper articles about the President’s trips. The last trip he planned for Eisenhower was a proposed visit to Liberal, Kansas, in October 1964, after Eisenhower had left the White House. The trip was cancelled at the last minute due to the death of former president Herbert Hoover.

Ken Olsen

Kenneth Harry "Ken" Olsen (February 20, 1926 – February 6, 2011) was an American engineer who co-founded Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in 1957 with colleague Harlan Anderson and his brother Stan Olsen.

Samuel Bodman

Samuel Wright Bodman III (November 26, 1938 – September 7, 2018) was an American politician, who was the 11th United States Secretary of Energy serving during the George W. Bush administration from 2005 to 2009. He was also at different times the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and the Deputy Secretary of Commerce.

In December 2004, Bodman was nominated to replace Spencer Abraham as the Energy Secretary and was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on January 31, 2005. During his tenure, he oversaw the security problems at Los Alamos National Laboratory and a budget in excess of $23 billion and over 100,000 federal and contractor employees.

The Money of Invention

The Money of Invention: How Venture Capital Creates New Wealth is a non-fiction book about venture capital, written by Paul A. Gompers and Josh Lerner, Professors of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. The book was first published in 2001 by the Harvard Business School Press. It is considered one of the best studies about the venture capital industry in United States.

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