The field of investor relations (IR) was traditionally considered a specialization of public relations. That changed in the 1950s when General Electric hired staff to communicate financial information to shareholders. Other companies also began to hire IR professionals, and these workers focused solely on providing financial information and responding to inquiries from shareholders. In the early 2000s, a series of corporate scandals (e.g., Enron, WorldCom, etc.) prompted the job responsibilities of IR professionals to expand. In the face of increased media scrutiny and growing investor calls for transparency, executives began to rely on IR professionals to not only handle financial communications, but also to serve in a strategic management function.
Within the venture capital (VC) industry, the need for IR professionals has grown as a result of the escalating competition between VC funds for the chance to fund hot start-ups and increasing demand by limited partners and potential investors for financial information.