Interview with legendary venture capitalist, Arthur Rock on the birth of the VC industy

Arthur Rock is largely viewed as the father of the venture capital industry. Watch and learn how the industry was born in the 1950′s.

[Recorded May 1, 2007]
A 1951 graduate of Harvard Business School, Arthur Rock began his career as a security analyst in New York City before joining the corporate finance department of Hayden, Stone & Co. In 1957 he worked with Alfred “Bud” Coyle to raise financing from Sherman Fairchild to found Fairchild Semiconductor, the company that established Silicon Valley as a world center of innovation in integrated circuit technology.

Mr. Rock moved to California in 1961 and formed a partnership with Tommy Davis. Together they invested $3 million and returned $100 million to their investors. After establishing his own firm, Arthur Rock & Co in 1968, he worked with Fairchild co-founders Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce to launch Intel Corporation, the largest, and by many measures, the most successful semiconductor company in the world today. He notes that “It was one of the few times that I helped start a company that I absolutely knew in my own mind was going to be a big success. I raised the money just on the telephone in something like two days.”

Arthur Rock served as Intel’s first Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Executive Committee. Based on this experience he has proclaimed Rock’s Law, a corollary to Moore’s Law, which says that “the cost of capital equipment to build semiconductors will double every four years.”

Mr. Rock also invested in and held early stage board positions at pioneering scientific computing company, Scientific Data Systems; at Teledyne, which grew into one of the most successful technology conglomerates in the history of American business, and at Apple Computer. He has contributed to the local community by supporting the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Opera, and the California Institute of Technology. In 2003 he donated $25 Million to establish the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School. Professor of Business Administration Howard H. Stevenson says “Arthur Rock is part of the history of American business and entrepreneurship.