Sand Hill Econometrics was founded in 2001 to create better metrics of the performance of venture capital.
We spent the first few years filling in holes in the data, mainly researching companies that had either been around for a long time or had not done a round of funding for a long time but had no exit. It was not too much of a surprise that the exits we gathered were mainly company shutdowns or not-very-successful acquisitions. There were no IPOs missing from the data. Venture successes are advertised, but the failures, an important part of the story, take work to find.
By 2004 we had an index that we thought was informative, and that would allow us and others to measure the risk for venture capital and to assess the correlation of venture returns with public market returns. They are correlated! We continued cleaning and refining data and developing methods for measuring risk and performance.
In early 2009 we reached an agreement with Dow Jones to license the index to them, and to build the index with data from DowJones’ VentureSource. Over the next year we integrated data and further refined methods. DowJones introduced the index to the public on September 28, 2010 in New York.
Susan Woodward is a financial economist specializing in the organization and performance of securities markets. She has served as the Chief Economist of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She has taught finance at the Stanford Law School, the University of Rochester Business School, and University of California at Los Angeles.
Before founding Sand Hill Econometrics, Woodward was Executive Vice President and Chief Economist of OffRoad Capital, an Internet-based investment bank specializing in later-stage private equity placements. At OffRoad, she designed a system for auction pricing of private equity offerings.
Woodward received both her B.A. and Ph.D. in Financial Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Robert E. Hall is the Robert and Carole McNeil Joint Professor of Economics and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His interests span monetary and fiscal policy, productivity growth, financial markets and more. His current research focuses on electronic markets for securities, supply-chain products, and consumer products, and his book Digital Dealing, is on this subject.
Hall has advised a number of government agencies on national economic policy, including the Justice Department, the Treasury Department, and the Federal Reserve Board. He served on the National Presidential Advisory Committee on Productivity and has testified on numerous occasions before congressional committees concerning national economic policy. He also serves as director of the research program on economic fluctuations and growth of the National Bureau of Economic Research, an inter-university research organization. Before coming to Stanford, he was Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Hall received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Shawn Blosser has worked with Sand Hill Econometrics since its founding in 2001. Blosser began working with Susan Woodward and venture capital data at OffRoad Capital. Blosser is also the founder of DataBasix, a consulting firm that specializes in statistical analysis and economic modeling for government agencies, non-profit research institutes, and private and public companies. Blosser received his B.A. with Honors in Economics from Stanford University and attended the graduate program in Economics at the University of Chicago.
Chris Ernest Hall has twenty years experience in software development. In the 90s he worked for TSP International and created a graphical front-end to their econometrics software. During the dotcom boom he helped design and implement OffRoad Capital's auction system for interests in venture-funded start-ups. He then spent four years at Sand Hill Econometrics, helping to develop the customer website and the data collection tools for gathering data used in the Sand Hill Index of Venture Capital. After a stint at Six Apart working on blogging and social media software, he returned to Sand Hill as a consultant in 2010. You can follow him on twitter: @djchall.
Photo credits: Bob Hall, Susan Woodward, Alex Bain
Others who helped us along the way are Prof. John Quigley (UC Berkeley), who was involved in the earliest stages of index construction and provided enthusiasm and moral support as well, Francesca Freedman, who helped us move, get organized, design the web site, and get our serious database up and running, and William S. Uyeda, who helped us find and begin working with Dow Jones and Northern Trust.