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The Persistent Effect of Initial Success: Evidence from Venture Capital

Author

Listed:
  • Ramana Nanda

    (Harvard Business School, Entrepreneurial Management Unit)

  • Sampsa Samila

    (IESE Business School)

  • Olav Sorenson

    (Yale School of Management)

Abstract

We use investment-level data to study performance persistence in venture capital (VC). Consistent with prior studies, we find that each additional IPO among a VC firm's first ten investments predicts as much as an 8% higher IPO rate on its subsequent investments, though this effect erodes with time. In exploring its sources, we document several additional facts: successful outcomes stem in large part from investing in the right places at the right times; VC firms do not persist in their ability to choose the right places and times to invest; but early success does lead to investing in later rounds and in larger syndicates. This pattern of results seems most consistent with the idea that initial success improves access to deal flow. That preferential access raises the quality of subsequent investments, perpetuating performance differences in initial investments.

Suggested Citation

  • Ramana Nanda & Sampsa Samila & Olav Sorenson, 2017. "The Persistent Effect of Initial Success: Evidence from Venture Capital," Harvard Business School Working Papers 17-065, Harvard Business School, revised Jun 2019.
  • Handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:17-065
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    Cited by:

    1. Nguyen, Giang & Vu, Le, 2021. "Does venture capital syndication affect mergers and acquisitions?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    2. Ewens, Michael & Townsend, Richard R., 2020. "Are early stage investors biased against women?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(3), pages 653-677.
    3. Dafei Yin & Jing Li & Gaosheng Wu, 2021. "Solving the Data Sparsity Problem in Predicting the Success of the Startups with Machine Learning Methods," Papers 2112.07985, arXiv.org.
    4. Sarath Balachandran & Exequiel Hernandez, 2021. "Mi Casa Es Tu Casa: Immigrant Entrepreneurs as Pathways to Foreign Venture Capital Investments," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(11), pages 2047-2083, November.
    5. Teplitskiy, Misha & Duede, Eamon & Menietti, Michael & Lakhani, Karim R., 2022. "How status of research papers affects the way they are read and cited," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(4).
    6. Gounopoulos, Dimitrios & Mazouz, Khelifa & Wood, Geoffrey, 2021. "The consequences of political donations for IPO premium and performance," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    7. Cumming, Douglas J. & Nguyen, Giang & Nguyen, My, 2022. "Product market competition, venture capital, and the success of entrepreneurial firms," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    8. Bessen, James & Impink, Stephen Michael & Reichensperger, Lydia & Seamans, Robert, 2022. "The role of data for AI startup growth," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(5).
    9. Nguyen, Giang & Vo, Vinh, 2021. "Asset liquidity and venture capital investment," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    10. Del Gaudio, Belinda L. & Porzio, Claudio & Sampagnaro, Gabriele & Verdoliva, Vincenzo, 2020. "Public policy and venture capital: Pursuing the disclosure goal," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 51(C).
    11. Yao, Juan & Wu, Bochen & Gao, Yang, 2021. "Death and the life hereafter: A study of the subsequent hedge funds," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 40(C).
    12. Josh Lerner & Ramana Nanda, 2020. "Venture Capital's Role in Financing Innovation: What We Know and How Much We Still Need to Learn," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 34(3), pages 237-261, Summer.
    13. Sorenson, Olav & Kwon, Doris, 2019. "The Silicon Valley Syndrome," SocArXiv zug2s, Center for Open Science.
    14. Cong, Lin William & Lee, Charles M.C. & Qu, Yuanyu & Tao, Shen, 2020. "Financing Entrepreneurship and Innovation in China," Foundations and Trends(R) in Entrepreneurship, now publishers, vol. 16(1), pages 1-64, January.
    15. Christian Catalini & Jorge Guzman & Scott Stern, 2019. "Hidden in Plain Sight: Venture Growth with or without Venture Capital," NBER Working Papers 26521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    venture capital; performance; monitoring; selection;
    All these keywords.

    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

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