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Risk-Adjusting the Returns to Venture Capital

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  • Korteweg, Arthur
  • Nagel, Stefan

Abstract

Performance evaluation of venture-capital (VC) payoffs is challenging because payoffs are infrequent, skewed, realized over endogenously varying time horizons, and cross- sectionally dependent. We show that standard stochastic discount factor (SDF) methods can be adapted to handle these issues. Our approach generalizes the Public Market Equivalent (PME) measure commonly used in the private-equity literature. We find that the abnormal returns from both VC funds and VC start-up investments are robust to relaxing the strong distributional assumptions and implicit SDF restrictions from the prior literature: VC start-up investments earn substantial positive abnormal returns, and VC fund abnormal returns are close to zero. We further show that the systematic component of start-up company and VC fund payoffs resembles the negatively skewed payoffs from selling index put options, which contrasts with the call option-like positive skewness of the idiosyncratic payoffs. Motivated by this finding, we explore an SDF that includes index put option returns. This results in negative abnormal returns to VC funds, while the abnormal returns to start-up investments remain large and positive.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9610.

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Date of creation: Aug 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9610

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Keywords: Stochastic Discount Factor; Systematic Risk; Venture Capital;

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  1. Josh Lerner & Antoinette Schoar & Wan Wongsunwai, 2007. "Smart Institutions, Foolish Choices: The Limited Partner Performance Puzzle," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(2), pages 731-764, 04.
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  12. Cochrane, John H., 2005. "The risk and return of venture capital," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 3-52, January.
  13. Driessen, Joost & Lin, Tse-Chun & Phalippou, Ludovic, 2012. "A New Method to Estimate Risk and Return of Nontraded Assets from Cash Flows: The Case of Private Equity Funds," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(03), pages 511-535, June.
  14. Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2002. "The Returns to Entrepreneurial Investment: A Private Equity Premium Puzzle?," NBER Working Papers 8876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
  16. Michael Ewens & Charles M. Jones & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, 2013. "The Price of Diversifiable Risk in Venture Capital and Private Equity," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(8), pages 1854-1889.
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