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Buy Local? The Geography of Successful and Unsuccessful Venture Capital Expansion


  • Henry Chen
  • Paul Gompers
  • Anna Kovner
  • Josh Lerner


We document geographic concentration by both venture capital firms and venture capital-financed companies in three cities - San Francisco, Boston, and New York. We find that firms open new satellite offices based on the success rate of venture capital-backed investments in an area. Geography is also significantly related to outcomes. Venture capital firms based in locales that are venture capital centers outperform, regardless of the stage of the investment. Ironically, this outperformance arises from outsized performance outside of the venture capital firms' office locations, including in peripheral locations. If the goal of state and local policy makers is to encourage venture capital investment, outperformance of non-local investments suggests that policy makers might want to mitigate costs associated with established venture capitalists investing in their geographies rather than encouraging the establishment of new venture capital firms

Suggested Citation

  • Henry Chen & Paul Gompers & Anna Kovner & Josh Lerner, 2009. "Buy Local? The Geography of Successful and Unsuccessful Venture Capital Expansion," NBER Working Papers 15102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15102
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bruce Fallick & Charles A. Fleischman & James B. Rebitzer, 2006. "Job-Hopping in Silicon Valley: Some Evidence Concerning the Microfoundations of a High-Technology Cluster," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 472-481, August.
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    5. Thomas Hellmann & Manju Puri, 2002. "Venture Capital and the Professionalization of Start-Up Firms: Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 169-197, February.
    6. 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.
    7. Harrison Hong & Jeffrey D. Kubik & Jeremy C. Stein, 2005. "Thy Neighbor's Portfolio: Word-of-Mouth Effects in the Holdings and Trades of Money Managers," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(6), pages 2801-2824, December.
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    11. Agrawal, Ajay & Kapur, Devesh & McHale, John, 2008. "How do spatial and social proximity influence knowledge flows? Evidence from patent data," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 258-269, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. L. Bottazzi & M. Da Rin & T. Hellmann, 2007. "The Importance of Trust for Investment: Evidence from Venture Capital," Working Papers 612, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    2. Haizhi Wang & Robert Wuebker & Shu Han & Michael Ensley, 2012. "Strategic alliances by venture capital backed firms: an empirical examination," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 179-196, February.
    3. Angela Cipollone & Paolo E. Giordani, 2012. "Animal Spirits in Entrepreneurial Innovation: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers CELEG 1201, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, LUISS Guido Carli.
    4. Bradley, Samantha R. & Gicheva, Dora & Hassell, Lydia & Link, Albert N., 2013. "Gender Differences in Access to Private Investment Funding to Support the Development of New Technologies," UNCG Economics Working Papers 13-9, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics.
    5. Glaeser, Edward L. & Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Strange, William C., 2010. "Urban economics and entrepreneurship," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 1-14, January.
    6. Mollick, Ethan, 2014. "The dynamics of crowdfunding: An exploratory study," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-16.
    7. Angela Cipollone & Paolo E. Giordani, 2015. "Market Frictions in Entrepreneurial Innovation: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers CELEG 1505, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, LUISS Guido Carli.
    8. Dessi, Roberta, 2011. "Innovation, Spillovers and Venture Capital Contracts," IDEI Working Papers 684, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Dec 2013.
    9. Flavia-Diana NISTOR, 2011. "WHICH ARE THE FACTORS INFLUENCING FINANCING DECISIONS IN SMEs?," Proceedings of the International Conference Investments and Economic Recovery, Faculty of Management, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 10(1), pages 32-36, December.
    10. Anna Kovner & Josh Lerner, 2015. "Doing Well by Doing Good? Community Development Venture Capital," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(3), pages 643-663, September.
    11. Dan Cristian POPESCU, 2012. "Corporations, Entrepreneurs And Urban Development," REVISTA ADMINISTRATIE SI MANAGEMENT PUBLIC, Faculty of Administration and Public Management, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 2012(8), pages 386-396, June.
    12. Naomi Hausman, 2012. "University Innovation, Local Economic Growth, and Entrepreneurship," Working Papers 12-10, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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