Over the last three decades, the European Union (EU) has actively created a venture capital market inEurope. A crucial player in that mission is the European Investment Fund (EIF), a unique state agencyspecialized in intermediated financial investments to reach policy goals. The EIF manages mandates forother agencies, such as the European Commission (EC), national ministries and development banks. Inthe case of venture capital (VC) investments, the reasoning behind that strategy of ‘governing throughfinancial markets’ was to spur innovation and job growth by strengthening the digital economy. Bycarrying out that strategy the Commission and the EIF become part of investment chains (Arjaliès et al.2017), including both private and public actors. In this study, I analyze parts of the chain that spans betweenthe EU government bodies, venture capital, the digital economy and its subjects. The scope is confinedto the linkage between European government bodies, one starting point of European VC chains,and the venture capital market over thirty years, beginning with the 1990s. A central node within thatchain, and consequently the focus of the analysis, is the EIF. I trace how the EIF has become a major actorin European VC markets over three decades of crisis-led institutional innovation and the implications ofthis governance strategy.