According to Sean Murphy
At a basic level venture capitalists are arbitrageurs: they have access to more information than those with the capital, and access to more capital than those with information, and they profit by exploiting the mismatch.
Ben Thompson in Venture Capital and the Internet’s Impact
One implication that many startups take a while to realize is that VC’s are always gathering information about emerging technologies and products to maintain their advantage. Much of the time an outreach call, especially from a junior associate, is to validate a potential investment in one of your competitors.