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The Incentives to Start New Companies: Evidence from Venture Capital

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  • Robert E. Hall
  • Susan E. Woodward

Abstract

The standard venture-capital contract rewards entrepreneurs only for creating successful companies that go public or are acquired on favorable terms. As a result, entrepreneurs receive no help from venture capital in avoiding the huge idiosyncratic risk of the typical venture-backed startup. Entrepreneurs earned an average of $9 million from each company that succeeded in attracting venture funding. But entrepreneurs are generally specialized in their own companies and bear the burden of the idiosyncratic risk. Entrepreneurs with a coefficient of relative risk aversion of two would be willing to sell their interests for less than $1 million at the outset rather than face that risk. The standard financial contract provides entrepreneurs capital supplied by passive investors and rewards entrepreneurs for successful outcomes. We track the division of value for a sample of the great majority of U.S. venture-funded companies over the period form 1987 through 2005. Venture capitalists received an average of $5 million in fee revenue from each company they backed. The outside investors in venture capital received a financial return substantially above that of publicly traded companies, but that the excess is mostly a reward for bearing risk. The pure excess return measured by the alpha of the Capital Asset Pricing Model is positive but may reflect only random variation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13056.

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Date of creation: Apr 2007
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13056

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  1. Repullo, Rafael & Suarez, Javier, 1999. "Venture Capital Finance: A Security Design Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 2097, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Klaus Schmidt, 1999. "Convertible Securities and Venture Capital Finance," CESifo Working Paper Series 217, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Steven N. Kaplan & Antoinette Schoar, 2005. "Private Equity Performance: Returns, Persistence, and Capital Flows," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(4), pages 1791-1823, 08.
  4. Getmansky, Mila & Lo, Andrew W. & Makarov, Igor, 2004. "An econometric model of serial correlation and illiquidity in hedge fund returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 529-609, December.
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  6. John H. Cochrane, 2001. "The Risk and Return of Venture Capital," NBER Working Papers 8066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Schmidt, Klaus M., 2003. "Convertible Securities and Venture Capital Finance," Munich Reprints in Economics 19769, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  8. Andrew W. Lo & A. Craig MacKinlay, 1991. "An Econometric Analysis of Nonsynchronous Trading," NBER Working Papers 2960, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Admati, Anat R & Pfleiderer, Paul, 1994. " Robust Financial Contracting and the Role of Venture Capitalists," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(2), pages 371-402, June.
  10. Dimson, Elroy, 1979. "Risk measurement when shares are subject to infrequent trading," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 197-226, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Michael D. McKenzie & William H. Janeway, 2011. "Venture capital funds and the public equity market," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 51(3), pages 764-786, 09.
  2. Robert E. Hall & Susan E. Woodward, 2010. "The Burden of the Nondiversifiable Risk of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1163-94, June.
  3. Thomas Philippon & Yuliy Sannikov, 2007. "Real Options in a Dynamic Agency Model, with Applications to Financial Development, IPOs, and Business Risk," NBER Working Papers 13584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Yao-Wen Hsu, 2010. "Staging of venture capital investment: a real options analysis," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 265-281, October.
  5. Satyajit Chatterjee & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2007. "Spin-offs and the market for ideas," Working Papers 07-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  6. Ibragimov, Rustam, 2014. "On the robustness of location estimators in models of firm growth under heavy-tailedness," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 181(1), pages 25-33.
  7. Wharton School & Nikolai Roussanov, 2008. "Diversification and its Discontents: Idiosyncratic and Entrepreneurial Risk in the Quest for Social Status," 2008 Meeting Papers 924, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Katya Kartashova, 2011. "The Private Equity Premium Puzzle Revisited," Working Papers 11-6, Bank of Canada.

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