For decades now, venture capitalists have played a crucial role in the economy by financing high-growth start-ups. While the companies they’ve backed—Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and more—are constantly in the headlines, very little is known about what VCs actually do and how they create value. To pull the curtain back, Paul Gompers of Harvard Business School, Will Gornall of the Sauder School of Business, Steven N. Kaplan of the Chicago Booth School of Business, and Ilya A. Strebulaev of Stanford Graduate School of Business conducted what is perhaps the most comprehensive survey of VC firms to date. In this article, they share their findings, offering details on how VCs hunt for deals, assess and winnow down opportunities, add value to portfolio companies, structure agreements with founders, and operate their own firms. These insights into VC practices can be helpful to entrepreneurs trying to raise capital, corporate investment arms that want to emulate VCs’ success, and policy makers who seek to build entrepreneurial ecosystems in their communities.