IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/24523.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Cost of Experimentation and the Evolution of Venture Capital

Author

Listed:
  • Michael Ewens
  • Ramana Nanda
  • Matthew Rhodes-Kropf

Abstract

We study how technological shocks to the cost of starting new businesses have led the venture capital model to adapt in fundamental ways over the prior decade. We both document and provide a framework to understand the changes in the investment strategy of venture capitalists (VCs) in recent years — an increased prevalence of a “spray and pray” investment approach — where investors provide a little funding and limited governance to an increased number of startups that they are more likely to abandon, but where initial experiments significantly inform beliefs about the future potential of the venture. This adaptation and related entry by new financial intermediaries has led to a disproportionate rise in innovations where information on future prospects is revealed quickly and cheaply, and reduced the relative share of innovation in complex technologies where initial experiments cost more and reveal less.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Ewens & Ramana Nanda & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, 2018. "Cost of Experimentation and the Evolution of Venture Capital," NBER Working Papers 24523, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24523
    Note: CF PR
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w24523.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gustavo Manso, 2011. "Motivating Innovation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(5), pages 1823-1860, October.
    2. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1989. "Agency costs and innovation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 305-327, December.
    3. Roberts, Kevin & Weitzman, Martin L, 1981. "Funding Criteria for Research, Development, and Exploration Projects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(5), pages 1261-1288, September.
    4. Adam B. Jaffe & Benjamin F. Jones, 2015. "The Changing Frontier: Rethinking Science and Innovation Policy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number jaff13-1, January.
    5. Dirk Bergemann & Ulrich Hege & Liang Peng, 2008. "Venture Capital and Sequential Investments," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1682R2, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Oct 2009.
    6. Dirk Bergemann & Ulrigh Hege, 2005. "The Financing of Innovation: Learning and Stopping," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(4), pages 719-752, Winter.
    7. Tian, Xuan, 2011. "The causes and consequences of venture capital stage financing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 132-159, July.
    8. Xuan Tian & Tracy Yue Wang, 2014. "Tolerance for Failure and Corporate Innovation," The Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 27(1), pages 211-255, January.
    9. Jaffe, Adam B. & Jones, Benjamin F. (ed.), 2015. "The Changing Frontier," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226286723, August.
    10. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-351, March.
    11. Ufuk Akcigit & Qingmin Liu, 2011. "The Role of Information in Competitive Experimentation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000321, David K. Levine.
    12. Giuseppe Moscarini & Lones Smith, 2001. "The Optimal Level of Experimentation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1629-1644, November.
    13. Holmström, Bengt, 1989. "Agency Costs and Innovation," Working Paper Series 214, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    14. Hellmann, Thomas & Puri, Manju, 2000. "The Interaction between Product Market and Financing Strategy: The Role of Venture Capital," The Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(4), pages 959-984.
    15. Robert G. King & Ross Levine, 1993. "Finance and Growth: Schumpeter Might Be Right," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 108(3), pages 717-737.
    16. Manju Puri & Rebecca Zarutskie, 2012. "On the Life Cycle Dynamics of Venture-Capital- and Non-Venture-Capital-Financed Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(6), pages 2247-2293, December.
    17. David E. Fagnan & Jose Maria Fernandez & Andrew W. Lo & Roger M. Stein, 2013. "Can Financial Engineering Cure Cancer?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 406-411, May.
    18. Shai Bernstein & Arthur Korteweg & Kevin Laws, 2017. "Attracting Early-Stage Investors: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 72(2), pages 509-538, April.
    19. Robert E. Hall & Susan E. Woodward, 2010. "The Burden of the Nondiversifiable Risk of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1163-1194, June.
    20. Laeven, Luc & Levine, Ross & Michalopoulos, Stelios, 2015. "Financial innovation and endogenous growth," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 1-24.
    21. Gompers, Paul A, 1995. "Optimal Investment, Monitoring, and the Staging of Venture Capital," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1461-1489, December.
    22. William R. Kerr & Ramana Nanda & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, 2014. "Entrepreneurship as Experimentation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 25-48, Summer.
    23. Weitzman, Martin L, 1979. "Optimal Search for the Best Alternative," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 641-654, May.
    24. William R. Kerr & Josh Lerner & Antoinette Schoar, 2014. "The Consequences of Entrepreneurial Finance: Evidence from Angel Financings," The Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 27(1), pages 20-55, January.
    25. Hellmann, Thomas & Thiele, Veikko, 2015. "Friends or foes? The interrelationship between angel and venture capital markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(3), pages 639-653.
    26. Janeway,William H., 2012. "Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107031258.
    27. Chandler, Alfred D., 1965. "The Railroads: Pioneers in Modern Corporate Management," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(1), pages 16-40, April.
    28. Baskin,Jonathan Barron & Miranti, Jr,Paul J., 1997. "A History of Corporate Finance," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521555142, November.
    29. Yael V. Hochberg, 2016. "Accelerating Entrepreneurs and Ecosystems: The Seed Accelerator Model," Innovation Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 25-51.
    30. Francesca Cornelli & Oved Yosha, 2003. "Stage Financing and the Role of Convertible Securities," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 70(1), pages 1-32.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Ramana Nanda & William R. Kerr, 2015. "Financing Innovation," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 445-462, December.
    2. repec:zbw:bofrdp:2015_028 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:zbw:bofrdp:urn:nbn:fi:bof-201512141480 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Ramana Nanda & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, 2012. "Innovation Policies," Harvard Business School Working Papers 13-038, Harvard Business School, revised Mar 2017.
    5. Ramana Nanda & William R. Kerr, 2015. "Financing Innovation," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 445-462, December.
    6. repec:bof:bofrdp:urn:nbn:fi:bof-201512141480 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. William R. Kerr & Ramana Nanda & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, 2014. "Entrepreneurship as Experimentation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 25-48, Summer.
    8. Rin, Marco Da & Hellmann, Thomas & Puri, Manju, 2013. "A Survey of Venture Capital Research," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 573-648, Elsevier.
    9. Ramana Nanda & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, 2017. "Financing Risk and Innovation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 63(4), pages 901-918, April.
    10. Erin L. Scott & Pian Shu & Roman M. Lubynsky, 2015. "Are “Better” Ideas More Likely to Succeed? An Empirical Analysis of Startup Evaluation," Harvard Business School Working Papers 16-013, Harvard Business School.
    11. Ramana Nanda & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, 2017. "Coordination Frictions in Venture Capital Syndicates," Harvard Business School Working Papers 17-089, Harvard Business School, revised Dec 2018.
    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. Mayer, Simon, 2022. "Financing breakthroughs under failure risk," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 807-848.
    14. William H. Janeway & Ramana Nanda & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, 2021. "Venture Capital Booms and Start-Up Financing," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 13(1), pages 111-127, November.
    15. Ramana Nanda & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, 2016. "Financing Entrepreneurial Experimentation," Innovation Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-23.
    16. Sabrina T. Howell, 2017. "Reducing Information Frictions in Venture Capital: The Role of New Venture Competitions," NBER Working Papers 23874, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Sabrina T. Howell, 2017. "Financing Innovation: Evidence from R&D Grants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(4), pages 1136-1164, April.
    18. Ramana Nanda & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, 2013. "Innovation and the Financial Guillotine," NBER Working Papers 19379, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Jason Roderick Donaldson & Giorgia Piacentino & Anjan Thakor, 2021. "Intermediation Variety," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 76(6), pages 3103-3152, December.
    20. Kaminski, Jermain & Hopp, Christian & Tykvová, Tereza, 2019. "New technology assessment in entrepreneurial financing – Does crowdfunding predict venture capital investments?," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 287-302.
    21. Kong, Dongmin & Wang, Yanan & Zhang, Jian, 2020. "Efficiency wages as gift exchange: Evidence from corporate innovation in China," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    22. Diego Comin & Ramana Nanda, 2019. "Financial Development and Technology Diffusion," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 67(2), pages 395-419, June.
    23. Johannes Hörner & Larry Samuelson, 2013. "Incentives for experimenting agents," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 44(4), pages 632-663, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24523. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: the person in charge (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.