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How Do Venture Capitalists Make Decisions?

Author

Listed:
  • Paul Gompers
  • William Gornall
  • Steven N. Kaplan
  • Ilya A. Strebulaev

Abstract

We survey 885 institutional venture capitalists (VCs) at 681 firms to learn how they make decisions across eight areas: deal sourcing; investment selection; valuation; deal structure; post-investment value-added; exits; internal firm organization; and relationships with limited partners. In selecting investments, VCs see the management team as more important than business related characteristics such as product or technology. They also attribute more of the likelihood of ultimate investment success or failure to the team than to the business. While deal sourcing, deal selection, and post-investment value-added all contribute to value creation, the VCs rate deal selection as the most important of the three. We also explore (and find) differences in practices across industry, stage, geography and past success. We compare our results to those for CFOs (Graham and Harvey 2001) and private equity investors (Gompers, Kaplan and Mukharlyamov forthcoming).

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Gompers & William Gornall & Steven N. Kaplan & Ilya A. Strebulaev, 2016. "How Do Venture Capitalists Make Decisions?," NBER Working Papers 22587, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22587
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

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