Competition and Specialization: A Non-Monotonic Relationship
ALBA Graduate Business School; Yale SOM International Center for Finance
Drexel University - School of Economics
October 6, 2014
We investigate the relationship between competition and firm specialization in the venture capital (VC) market. Staged financing motivates VC firms to fund entrepreneurs in various states of maturity: startup/seed, early, growth, and so forth, and leads to stage specialization. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that competition always promotes specialization, we find an inverted-U relationship, using panel data on VC funding rounds in the U.S. between 1980 and 2006. We develop a matching model with two-sided vertical heterogeneity, bilateral bargaining and moral hazard to demonstrate that the non-monotonicity is driven by the expected utility VC firms offer to entrepreneurs, via equity stakes, where higher quality entrepreneurs (with more promising business plans) receive greater utility. Competition shifts and rotates the utility schedule, which gives rise to two opposing forces on the returns to specialization as competition intensifies. We then search for validation of the mechanism we propose and we find consistent empirical evidence.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: Venture capital market, Stage specialization, Competition, Endogenous matching
JEL Classification: G24, D4, C7
Date posted: March 8, 2014 ; Last revised: October 7, 2014
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