The Risk and Return of Venture Capital
This paper measures the mean, standard deviation, alpha and beta of venture capital investments, using a maximum likelihood estimate that corrects for selection bias. Since firms go public when they have achieved a good return, estimates that do not correct for selection bias are optimistic. The selection bias correction neatly accounts for log returns. Without a selection bias correction, I find a mean log return of about 100% and a log CAPM intercept of about 90%. With the selection bias correction, I find a mean log return of about 7% with a -2% intercept. However, returns are very volatile, with standard deviation near 100%. Therefore, arithmetic average returns and intercepts are much higher than geometric averages. The selection bias correction attenuates but does not eliminate high arithmetic average returns. Without a selection bias correction, I find an arithmetic average return of around 700% and a CAPM alpha of nearly 500%. With the selection bias correction, I find arithmetic average returns of about 53% and CAPM alpha of about 45%. Second, third, and fourth rounds of financing are less risky. They have progressively lower volatility, and therefore lower arithmetic average returns. The betas of successive rounds also decline dramatically from near 1 for the first round to near zero for fourth rounds. The maximum likelihood estimate matches many features of the data, in particular the pattern of IPO and exit as a function of project age, and the fact that return distributions are stable across horizons.
|Date of creation:||Jan 2001|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Cochrane, John H. "The Risk And Return Of Venture Capital," Journal of Financial Economics, 2005, v75(1,Jan), 3-52.|
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- Steven N. Kaplan & Per Stromberg, 2000.
"Financial Contracting Theory Meets the Real World: An Empirical Analysis of Venture Capital Contracts,"
NBER Working Papers
7660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Steven N. Kaplan & Per Stromberg, 2003. "Financial Contracting Theory Meets the Real World: An Empirical Analysis of Venture Capital Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 281-315, 04.
- Steven N. Kaplan & Per Strömberg, 2000. "Financial Contracting Theory Meets the Real World: An Empirical Analysis of Venture Capital Contracts," CRSP working papers 513, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
- Kaplan, Steven & Strömberg, Per Johan, 2000. "Financial Contracting Theory Meets The Real World: An Empirical Analysis Of Venture Capital Contracts," CEPR Discussion Papers 2421, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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- Liang Peng, 2001. "Building A Venture Capital Index," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm221, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Oct 2001.
- Steven Kaplan & Antoinette Schoar, 2003. "Private Equity Performance: Returns, Persistence and Capital," NBER Working Papers 9807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alexander Ljungqvist & Matthew Richardson, 2003. "The cash flow, return and risk characteristics of private equity," NBER Working Papers 9454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lerner, Joshua, 1994. "Venture capitalists and the decision to go public," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 293-316, June.
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