A demand-side perspective on venture capital financing
Licentiate thesis, 2020
Entrepreneurial high growth firms are recognized as having a disproportionate impact on economic development and job creation. It is further recognized that many of these firms need access to venture capital if the high-growth potential is to be realized. Intervention by governments to improve access to finance for entrepreneurial ventures have often focused on supply-side measures. However, there is a growing recognition that access to finance can also be hindered by weaknesses on the demand-side where entrepreneurs need information and advice on the process of raising equity finance and what it means to be investment ready.
This thesis focuses on the demand-side of financing and the entrepreneur’s point of view on venture capital. Although there is a vast literature about how venture capitalists (VCs) screen and select the entrepreneurial firms they wish to invest in, only a handful of studies have examined venture capital investments from an entrepreneur’s perspective.Based on interviews with 53 venture capital backed entrepreneurs and a quantitative longitudinal study of 273 venture capital backed startups, this thesis aims to better understand the “knowledge gap” on the demand-side and how entrepreneurs handle problems and challenges when raising and being funded by venture capital.
The findings in this thesis are related to the full venture capital cycle, from the initial selection phase, through the investment process to after the exit.
We argue that entrepreneurs might be considered as a more active part in the VC-entrepreneur relationship than most previous studies have assumed. To avoid the VC’s asymmetric information advantage we suggest that the entrepreneurs develop informal tools to mitigate potential problems and risks. We further show how entrepreneurs in “thin” venture capital markets recognize the opportunities that a “thick” venture capital market can provide. Finally we propose that entrepreneurs who are in the process of raising venture capital have reasons to negotiate around future exit choices with the VC when considering the long-term effects of venture capital.