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To Be Financed or Not … - The Role of Patents for Venture Capital Financing

  • Haeussler, Carolin
  • Harhoff, Dietmar
  • Mueller, Elisabeth

This paper investigates how patent applications and grants held by new ventures improve their ability to attract venture capital (VC) financing. We argue that investors are faced with considerable uncer-tainty and therefore rely on patents as signals when trying to assess the prospects of potential portfolio companies. For a sample of VC-seeking German and British biotechnology companies we have identified all patents filed at the European Patent Office (EPO). Applying hazard rate analysis, we find that in the presence of patent applications, VC financing occurs earlier. Our results also show that VCs pay attention to patent quality, financing those ventures faster which later turn out to have high-quality patents. Patent oppositions increase the likelihood of receiving VC, but ultimate grant decisions do not spur VC financing, presumably because they are anticipated. Our empirical results and interviews with VCs suggest that the process of patenting generates signals which help to overcome the liabilities of newness faced by new ventures.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Munich School of Management in its series Discussion Papers in Business Administration with number 8970.

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Date of creation: 20 Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:lmu:msmdpa:8970
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  1. Baum, Joel A. C. & Silverman, Brian S., 2004. "Picking winners or building them? Alliance, intellectual, and human capital as selection criteria in venture financing and performance of biotechnology startups," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 411-436, May.
  2. Harhoff, Dietmar & Reitzig, Markus, 2004. "Determinants of opposition against EPO patent grants--the case of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 443-480, April.
  3. Joshua S. Gans & David H. Hsu & Scott Stern, 2000. "When Does Start-Up Innovation Spur the Gale of Creative Destruction?," NBER Working Papers 7851, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Macmillan, Ian C. & Siegel, Robin & Narasimha, P. N. Subba, 1985. "Criteria used by venture capitalists to evaluate new venture proposals," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 119-128.
  5. Hall, John & Hofer, Charles W., 1993. "Venture capitalists' decision criteria in new venture evaluation," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 25-42, January.
  6. Wesley M. Cohen & Richard R. Nelson & John P. Walsh, 2000. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)," NBER Working Papers 7552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3), pages 783-832.
  8. Gambardella, Alfonso & Harhoff, Dietmar & Verspagen, Bart, 2008. "The Value of European Patents," CEPR Discussion Papers 6848, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Samuel Kortum & Josh Lerner, 2000. "Assessing the Contribution of Venture Capital to Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(4), pages 674-692, Winter.
  10. Shepherd, Dean A. & Ettenson, Richard & Crouch, Andrew, 2000. "New venture strategy and profitability: A venture capitalist's assessment," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 15(5-6), pages 449-467.
  11. Harhoff, Dietmar & Wagner, Stefan, 2006. "Modeling the Duration of Patent Examination at the European Patent Office," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 170, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  12. David H. Hsu, 2006. "Venture Capitalists and Cooperative Start-up Commercialization Strategy," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(2), pages 204-219, February.
  13. Iain M. Cockburn & Megan MacGarvie, 2007. "Patents, Thickets, and the Financing of Early-Stage Firms: Evidence from the Software Industry," NBER Working Papers 13644, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Joshua S. Gans & David H. Hsu & Scott Stern, 2008. "The Impact of Uncertain Intellectual Property Rights on the Market for Ideas: Evidence from Patent Grant Delays," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(5), pages 982-997, May.
  15. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
  16. Emmanuel Dechenaux & Brent Goldfarb & Scott Shane & Mari Thursby, 2006. "Appropriability and Commercialization: Evidence from MIT Inventions," Discussion Papers 05-017, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  17. Iain M. Cockburn & Stefan Wagner, 2007. "Patents and the Survival of Internet-related IPOs," NBER Working Papers 13146, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Scott Shane & Toby Stuart, 2002. "Organizational Endowments and the Performance of University Start-ups," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 154-170, January.
  19. Dietmar Harhoff & Francis Narin & F. M. Scherer & Katrin Vopel, 1999. "Citation Frequency And The Value Of Patented Inventions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 511-515, August.
  20. Raphael Amit & Lawrence Glosten & Eitan Muller, 1990. "Entrepreneurial Ability, Venture Investments, and Risk Sharing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(10), pages 1233-1246, October.
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