Investment banking is separated into two different functions.
Venture capital is funds which are provided for the use of a start up company. Traditionally, these start ups are very early stage and considered high risk and high potential. Also, venture capital is normally provided to start up companies which have an innovative business model or technology. Software and biotechnology are two common areas of business which utilize venture capital. The party investing the venture capital makes money by owning equity in the start up company. These start up companies are often too small raise capital on their own or obtain a bank loan. Venture capital is private equity.
As venture capital is risky, the return is high. One benefit in exchange for the high risk is that venture capitalists may get a great deal of control over company decisions. Of course venture capitalists also usually own a large portion of the company and its value.