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The value of benchmarking

  • HEGE, Ulrich
  • BERGEMANN, Dirk

    (Department of Economics, Yale University)

We consider the provision of venture capital in a dynamic model with multiple research stages, where time and investment needed to meet each benchmark are unknown. The allocation of funds is subject moral hazard. The optimal contract provides for incentive payments linked to attaining the next benchmark, which must be increasing in the funding horizon of each stage. Benchmarking reduces agency costs, directly by shortening the agent's guaranteed funding horizon, and indirectly via an implicit incentive effect of information rents in future financing rounds. The ex ante need to provide incentives and the venture capitalist's desire to cut information rents ex post create a hold-up conflict, which can be overcome by providing all funds in every stage in a single up-front payment. Empirical patterns of the evolution of financing rounds and research intensity over the lifetime of a project are explained as optimal choices: the optimal capital allocated and the funding horizon are increasing from one stage to the next. This emphasizes the notion that early stages are the riskiest in an innovative venture.

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Paper provided by HEC Paris in its series Les Cahiers de Recherche with number 752.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 01 Apr 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ebg:heccah:0752
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  1. Dirk Bergemann & Ulrich Hege, 2001. "The Financing of Innovation: Learning and Stopping," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1292R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Oct 2004.
  2. Steven N. Kaplan & Per Stromberg, 2000. "Financial Contracting Theory Meets the Real World: An Empirical Analysis of Venture Capital Contracts," NBER Working Papers 7660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "Convertible Securities and Venture Capital Finance," CEPR Discussion Papers 2317, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. John H. Cochrane, 2001. "The Risk and Return of Venture Capital," NBER Working Papers 8066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. AMBEC, Stefan & POITEVIN, Michel, 2001. "Organizational Design of R&D Activities," Cahiers de recherche 2001-12, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  6. Elitzur, Ramy & Gavious, Arieh, 2003. "A multi-period game theoretic model of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 144(2), pages 440-453, January.
  7. Bergemann, Dirk & Hege, Ulrich, 1997. "Venture Capital Financing, Moral Hazard and Learning," CEPR Discussion Papers 1738, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Neher, Darwin V, 1999. "Staged Financing: An Agency Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 255-74, April.
  9. Qian, Yingyi & Xu, Chenggang, 1998. "Innovation and Bureaucracy under Soft and Hard Budget Constraints," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 151-64, January.
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