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The Optimality of Multi-stage Venture Capital Financing: An Option-Theoretic Approach

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  • Robert Dubil

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

For venture capital firms, facing undiversifiable risks, multi-staged financing is an optimal contract which offers significant risk reduction at a cost of only slightly lower potential return. The optimality does not depend on the presence of moral hazard and agency problems. Our theoretical model of multi-stage financing, largely based on Asian option pricing theory, allows us to compute the risk reduction ratio due to multi-staging. The return on a staged financing plan is equivalent to an exchange of a straight equity stake for that acquired through stochastic averaging over time. We compare standard deviation ratios for staged vs. up-front financings as well as across asset classes. We find that risk mitigation due to multi-staging is significant in and of itself and enough to markedly improve venture capital’s risk-reward ratios relative to alternatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Dubil, 2004. "The Optimality of Multi-stage Venture Capital Financing: An Option-Theoretic Approach," Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance, Pepperdine University, Graziadio School of Business and Management, vol. 9(3), pages 1-14, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:pep:journl:v:9:y:2004:i:3:p:1-14
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Geske, Robert, 1979. "The valuation of compound options," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 63-81, March.
    2. Kemna, A. G. Z. & Vorst, A. C. F., 1990. "A pricing method for options based on average asset values," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 113-129, March.
    3. Turnbull, Stuart M. & Wakeman, Lee Macdonald, 1991. "A Quick Algorithm for Pricing European Average Options," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(03), pages 377-389, September.
    4. Wang, Susheng & Zhou, Hailan, 2004. "Staged financing in venture capital: moral hazard and risks," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 131-155, January.
    5. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-654, May-June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Venture Capital; Options;

    JEL classification:

    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing

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