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Venture Capital and Sequential Investments

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  • Dirk Bergemann
  • Ulrich Hege
  • Liang Peng

Abstract

We present a dynamic model of venture capital financing, described as a sequential investment problem with uncertain outcome. Each venture has a critical, but unknown threshold beyond which it cannot progress. If the threshold is reached before the completion of the project, then the project fails, otherwise it succeeds. The investors decide sequentially about the speed of the investment and the optimal path of staged investments. We derive the dynamically optimal funding policy in response to the arrival of information during the development of the venture. We develop three types of predictions from our theoretical model and test these predictions in a large sample of venture capital investments in the U.S. for the period of 1987-2002. First, the investment flow starts low if the failure risk is high and accelerates as the projects mature. Second, the investment flow reacts positively to information that arrives while the project is developed. We find that the investment decisions are more sensitive to the information received during the development than to the information held prior to the project launch. Third, investors distribute their investments over more funding rounds if the failure risk is larger.

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Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 814577000000000046.

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Date of creation: 15 Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:814577000000000046

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  1. Steven N. Kaplan & Per Stromberg, 2000. "Financial Contracting Theory Meets the Real World: An Empirical Analysis of Venture Capital Contracts," NBER Working Papers 7660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gompers, Paul & Lerner, Josh, 2000. "Money chasing deals? The impact of fund inflows on private equity valuation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 281-325, February.
  3. Inderst, Roman & Muller, Holger M., 2004. "The effect of capital market characteristics on the value of start-up firms," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 319-356, May.
  4. Repullo, Rafael & Suarez, Javier, 1999. "Venture Capital Finance: A Security Design Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 2097, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. PETER M. DeMARZO & YULIY SANNIKOV, 2006. "Optimal Security Design and Dynamic Capital Structure in a Continuous-Time Agency Model," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(6), pages 2681-2724, December.
  6. Kaplan, Steve & Schoar, Antoinette, 2004. "Private Equity Performance: Returns, Persistence and Capital Flows," Working papers 4446-03, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  7. Carsten Bienz & Julia Hirsch, 2011. "The Dynamics of Venture Capital Contracts," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, European Finance Association, vol. 16(1), pages 157-195.
  8. Biais, Bruno & Mariotti, Thomas & Plantin, Guillaume & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2004. "Dynamic Security Design: Convergence to Continuous Time and Asset Pricing Implications," IDEI Working Papers 312, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Sep 2006.
  9. William Goetzmann & Liang Peng, 2006. "Estimating House Price Indexes in the Presence of Seller Reservation Prices," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 100-112, February.
  10. Gompers, Paul & Kovner, Anna & Lerner, Josh & Scharfstein, David, 2008. "Venture capital investment cycles: The impact of public markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 1-23, January.
  11. Alexander Ljungqvist & Matthew Richardson & Daniel Wolfenzon, 2008. "The Investment Behavior of Buyout Funds: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 14180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Cochrane, John, 2000. "The Risk and Return of Venture Capital," University of California at Los Angeles, Anderson Graduate School of Management qt7qm9h594, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA.
  13. Gompers, Paul A, 1995. " Optimal Investment, Monitoring, and the Staging of Venture Capital," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1461-89, December.
  14. Michelacci, C. & Suarez, J., 2000. "Business Creation and the Stock Market," Papers, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros- 0009, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
  15. Gompers, Paul A., 1996. "Grandstanding in the venture capital industry," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 133-156, September.
  16. Neher, Darwin V, 1999. "Staged Financing: An Agency Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 255-74, April.
  17. Peter M. DeMarzo & Michael J. Fishman, 2007. "Optimal Long-Term Financial Contracting," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 20(6), pages 2079-2128, November.
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  19. Boyan Jovanovic & Balàzs Szentes, 2007. "On the Return to Venture Capital," NBER Working Papers 12874, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Da Rin, M. & Hellmann, T. & Puri, M.L., 2011. "A Survey of Venture Capital Research," Discussion Paper, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research 2011-111, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. William R. Kerr & Ramana Nanda & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, 2014. "Entrepreneurship as Experimentation," NBER Working Papers 20358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Johannes Horner & Larry Samuelson, 2009. "Incentives for Experimenting Agents," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1726RRR, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Jun 2013.
  4. Ramana Nanda & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, 2013. "Innovation and the Financial Guillotine," NBER Working Papers 19379, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ramana Nanda & Ken Younge & Lee Fleming, 2014. "Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Renewable Energy," NBER Chapters, in: The Changing Frontier: Rethinking Science and Innovation Policy National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Johannes Horner & Larry Samuelson, 2009. "Incentives for Experimenting Agents," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1726, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. Johannes Horner & Larry Samuelson, 2009. "Incentives for Experimenting Agents," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1726R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Feb 2012.
  8. Dahiya, Sandeep & Ray, Korok, 2012. "Staged investments in entrepreneurial financing," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 1193-1216.
  9. Johannes Horner & Larry Samuelson, 2012. "Incentives for Experimenting Agents," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000418, David K. Levine.
  10. Ramana Nanda & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, 2010. "Financing Risk and Innovation," Harvard Business School Working Papers 11-013, Harvard Business School, revised Jan 2014.

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