IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Size and Focus of a Venture Capitalist's Portfolio

  • Paolo Fulghieri
Registered author(s):

    We take a portfolio approach to analyze the investment strategy of a venture capitalist (VC) and show that portfolio size and scope affect both the entrepreneurs' and the VC's incentives to exert effort. A small portfolio improves entrepreneurial incentives because it allows the VC to concentrate the limited human capital on a smaller number of startups, adding more value. A large and focused portfolio is beneficial because it allows the VC to reallocate the limited resources and human capital in the case of startup failure and allows the VC to extract greater rents from the entrepreneurs. We show that the VC finds it optimal to limit portfolio size when startups have higher payoff potential--that is, when providing strong entrepreneurial incentives is most valuable. The VC expands portfolio size only when startup fundamentals are more moderate and when he can form a sufficiently focused portfolio. Finally, we show that the VC may find it optimal to engage in portfolio management by divesting some of the startups early since this strategy allows him to extract a greater surplus. The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail:, Oxford University Press.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Society for Financial Studies in its journal The Review of Financial Studies.

    Volume (Year): 22 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 11 (November)
    Pages: 4643-4680

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:22:y:2009:i:11:p:4643-4680
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Oxford University Press, Journals Department, 2001 Evans Road, Cary, NC 27513 USA.
    Fax: 919-677-1714
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:22:y:2009:i:11:p:4643-4680. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press)

    or (Christopher F. Baum)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.