How Do Venture Capitalists Make Decisions?

In this paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, the authors 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.

The authors also explore (and find) differences in practices across industry, stage, geography and past success. They compare the results to those for CFOs (Graham and Harvey 2001) and private equity investors (Gompers, Kaplan and Mukharlyamov forthcoming).

Read More
10,000+

high-growth startups—across all 50 states and DC—raised venture funding in 2019 to build and grow their businesses.

42%

of all U.S. IPOs from 1974 to 2015 were venture-backed companies, representing 63% of the market capitalization and 85% of R&D.

2.9 million

is the average net jobs created annually between 1980 and 2010 by high-growth startups, which account for ~50% of gross jobs created in the U.S.

1,300+

U.S. venture firms are active today, managing an aggregate of $444 billion in assets.