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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lmu:msmdpa:8970
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  8. 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.
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  11. Harhoff, Dietmar & Wagner, Stefan, 2005. "Modelling the duration of patent examination at the European Patent Office," CEPR Discussion Papers 5283, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Joshua S. Gans & David H. Hsu & Scott Stern, 2002. "When Does Start-Up Innovation Spur the Gale of Creative Destruction?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 571-586, Winter.
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  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
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