With record amounts of money flowing into venture capital investment in recent years, it has become an important asset class in many long-term strategic portfolios. The authors explain the long-term risk-return characteristics of venture capital investment and its role in a long-term strategic asset allocation. While there are limited market performance data on venture capital, they find that from 1960 through 1999, venture capital has had an annual arithmetic average return of 45% with a standard deviation of 115.6%. The geometric average return (compounded average) is estimated to be about 13%. The correlation coefficient between venture capital and public stocks is estimated to be 0.04%. Because of its relatively low correlation with stocks, an allocation to venture capital of 2% to 9% is warranted for an aggressive portfolio (i.e., all-equity).