Informational Hold-Up and Performance Persistence in Venture Capital

46 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2009 Last revised: 13 Jan 2015

See all articles by Yael V. Hochberg

Yael V. Hochberg

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business

Alexander Ljungqvist

Stockholm School of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)

Annette Vissing-Jorgensen

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2011

Abstract

Why don't successful venture capitalists eliminate excess demand for their follow-on funds by aggressively raising their performance fees? We propose a theory of learning that leads to informational hold-up in the VC market. Investors in a fund learn whether the VC has skill or was lucky, whereas potential outside investors only observe returns. This gives the VC's current investors hold-up power when the VC raises his next fund: Without their backing, he cannot persuade anyone else to fund him, since outside investors would interpret the lack of backing as a sign that his skill is low. This hold-up power diminishes the VC's ability to increase fees in line with performance. The model provides a rationale for the persistence in after-fee returns documented by Kaplan and Schoar (2005) and predicts low expected returns among first-time funds, persistence in investors from fund to fund, and over-subscription in follow-on funds raised by successful VCs. Empirical evidence from a large sample of U.S. VC funds raised between 1980 and 2006 is consistent with these predictions.

Suggested Citation

Hochberg, Yael V. and Ljungqvist, Alexander and Vissing-Jorgensen, Annette, Informational Hold-Up and Performance Persistence in Venture Capital (December 2011). NYU Working Paper No. 2451/31348. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1354510

Yael V. Hochberg

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business ( email )

6100 South Main Street
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States

Alexander Ljungqvist (Contact Author)

Stockholm School of Economics ( email )

111 60 Stockholm
Sweden

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

Annette Vissing-Jorgensen

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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