The first traces of investing dates back to 1700 BCE Ancient Mesopotamia; The Code of Hammurabi established the first law to pledge collateral in exchange for investing in a project. Between then and 1500s, the Mediterranean provoked ‘business’ states in Italy, France and Germany.
Cut to the world’s first stock market in 1602; Amsterdam Stock Exchange by the Dutch East India Companyconnected potential investors with investment opportunities while simultaneously allowing businessmen to connect with willing investors. Real transformation, although came from the Industrial Revolution in the mid 1800s, for the first time in history, the general population began to invest from their economic surplus. And some of the oldest banks we know, such as JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs date back to this time. Starting in the 1850s, merchant bankers in London and Paris began to finance industrial expansions throughout the United States, leading to successful investment projects like the Transcontinental Railroad.
A decade later, those same financial institutions sold millions of dollars’ worth of bonds to help the federal government finance the American Civil War.
Between the 1950s and 1990s, the global economy went through a period of sustained growth and economic activity. All of that growth meant that we needed new investment vehicles and investment products. That’s why the American Research and Development Corporation popularized the idea of private equity in 1946.
1980s and 1990s saw a wave of Venture Capitalists encouraging entrepreneurs to develop electronic and product based businesses in exchange for a decade long commitment and low risk stakes. The Internet Boom changed the way investments work and today, we’re at crossroads with an ever changing globalized world where the need for innovative ways to invest in innovative companies is more than ever.