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Decision time in Belgium: an experiment as to how business angels evaluate investment opportunities

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  • Joël Ludvigsen
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    Abstract

    To what extent do business angels really understand their own decision process? This paper is the first in business angel research literature to use conjoint analysis to capture decision makers’ actual decision policies and to compare these results with their stated decision policies. Although more than twenty papers discussing the decision criteria of business angels have been published, most of these studies rely on post hoc methodologies (e.g. interviews and surveys) to capture the decision process. Post hoc methods assume that business angels can accurately introspect about their own decision processes, but studies from cognitive psychology suggest that decision makers are poor at introspecting. In addition, experiments in the venture capital industry have shown that venture capitalists are poor at introspecting and do not fully understand their decision processes. Taking cues from cognitive psychology, this paper starts with the hypothesis that, like venture capitalists, business angels do not fully understand their own decision processes. To test this hypothesis, an experiment including twenty-four Belgian business angels and using conjoint analysis is performed. The findings suggest that business angels are not good at introspecting about their own decision processes. Even within the confines of a controlled experiment, which greatly reduces the amount of information considered, business angels lacked strong understanding of how they made decisions.

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    File URL: https://dipot.ulb.ac.be/dspace/bitstream/2013/54323/1/RePEc_sol_wpaper_09-037.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers CEB with number 09-037.RS.

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    Length: 34 p.
    Date of creation: 2009
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    Publication status: Published by:
    Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:09-037

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    Keywords: business angels; decision making; entrepreneurial finance; investment evaluation; conjoint analysis;

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    1. Sullivan, Mary Kay & Miller, Alex, 1996. "Segmenting the informal venture capital market: Economic, hedonistic, and altruistic investors," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 25-35, May.
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    10. Macmillan, Ian C. & Zemann, Lauriann & Subbanarasimha, P. N., 1987. "Criteria distinguishing successful from unsuccessful ventures in the venture screening process," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 123-137.
    11. Freear, John & Sohl, Jeffrey E. & Wetzel, William Jr., 1994. "Angels and non-angels: Are there differences?," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 109-123, March.
    12. Mason, Colin M. & Harrison, Richard T., 2002. "Is it worth it? The rates of return from informal venture capital investments," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 211-236, May.
    13. Fiet, James O., 1995. "Reliance upon informants in the venture capital industry," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 195-223, May.
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    15. Harrison, Richard T. & Mason, Colin M., 1992. "International perspectives on the supply of informal venture capital," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 7(6), pages 459-475, November.
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