How do Venture Capitalists Handle Risk in High-Technology Ventures? - some preliminary results
This paper presents new empirical evidence, obtained by fieldwork methods, on investor risk-handling practice in the UK venture capital industry. Its focus is on high-technology firms and the techniques their venture capital backers use for risk management. The active areas of risk management are explored under the headings of risk premia, investment time horizons, and sensitivity analysis. As an organising framework, risk is divided into ‘agency risk’, ‘business risk’ and ‘innovation risk’. Data were gathered by working through a semi-structured interview agenda in face-to-face meetings with the top venture capital deal-makers in the UK. They were questioned specifically on how they handled risks in high-technology ventures. The interview agenda covered: risk premia, investment time horizon, sensitivity analysis, expected values, cash flow prediction, financial objectives, decision making, and qualitative appraisal. The paper draws on evidence from all eight agenda items, but focuses on the first three. This paper finds that the three categories of risk identified as important, innovation, agency and business risk, have pervasive influences on investor conduct in the UK. Their form of influence was traced under the agenda headings of risk premia, investment time horizon, and sensitivity analysis. It was found that the riskiness of investment types (e.g. seed, MBO etc) could be clearly ranked by investors. These rankings were found to be generally consistent with principles of financial economics. Investors were also asked what factors were most important to their risk appraisals, for given high technology investments. Of a wide range of factors, it was found that the most important to risk appraisal could be directly related to our categories of ‘agency risk’ and ‘business risk’. It was found too that the time profiles of investments and their sensitivity to changed assumptions could be approached using our three risk categories. Of these, ‘innovation risk’ was thought to be particularly high, implying various forms of adaptation by investors, including setting very high hurdle rates of return and deploying radical stress tests of investment models.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2001|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: School of Economics and Finance, University of St. Andrews, Fife KY16 9AL|
Phone: 01334 462420
Fax: 01334 462438
Web page: http://crieff.wordpress.com/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Chan, Yuk-Shee & Siegel, Daniel R & Thakor, Anjan V, 1990. "Learning, Corporate Control and Performance Requirements in Venture Capital Contracts," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(2), pages 365-81, May.
- Yuk-Shee Chan., 1982.
"On the Positive Role of Financial Intermediation in Allocation of Venture Capital in a Market with Imperfect Information,"
Research Program in Finance Working Papers
127, University of California at Berkeley.
- Chan, Yuk-Shee, 1983. " On the Positive Role of Financial Intermediation in Allocation of Venture Capital in a Market with Imperfect Information," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 38(5), pages 1543-1568, December.
- Murray, Gordon C. & Lott, Jonathan, 1995. "Have UK venture capitalists a bias against investment in new technology-based firms?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 283-299, March.
- Gavin C Reid & Nicholas G Terry & Julia A Smith, 1995.
"Risk Management in Venture Capital Investor-Investee Relations,"
CRIEFF Discussion Papers
9505, Centre for Research into Industry, Enterprise, Finance and the Firm.
- G. C. Reid & N. G. Terry & J. A. Smith, 1997. "Risk management in venture capital investor?investee relations," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 27-47.
- Gavin C Reid, 1994. "Fast Growing Small Entrepreneurial Firms and their Venture Capital Backers: an Applied Principal-Agent Analysis," CRIEFF Discussion Papers 9421, Centre for Research into Industry, Enterprise, Finance and the Firm.
- Ruhnka, John C. & Young, John E., 1991. "Some hypotheses about risk in venture capital investing," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 115-133, March.
- Gavin C Reid, 1998.
"The Application of Principal-Agent Methods to Investor-Investee Relations in the UK Venture Capital Industry,"
CRIEFF Discussion Papers
9810, Centre for Research into Industry, Enterprise, Finance and the Firm.
- Gavin C. Reid, 1999. "The application of principal-agent methods to investor-investee relations in the UK venture capital industry," Venture Capital, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(4), pages 285-302, October.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:san:crieff:0107. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (the School of Economics)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.