Birds of a Feather or Celebrating Differences? The Formation and Impact of Venture Capital Syndication
Hong Kong Polytechnic University
March 15, 2009
This paper examines venture capitalists' preferences for syndication partners. Do venture capital firms prefer partners that are similar to or different from them? How do venture capitalists' preferences for partners affect the performance of the syndicated investments? Will the choice of syndication partners have any impact on the venture capital firms themselves? Heterogeneity among syndication partners may increase transaction costs, but offers syndication partners valuable learning opportunities in the long run, suggesting a tradeoff between the short-term costs versus long-term benefits. Using data on U.S. venture capital investments, this paper shows that venture capital firms are less likely to syndicate with partners who are different from them. The preferences for syndication partners, however, have different implications for the portfolio companies and the venture capital firms. Companies funded by heterogeneous syndicates are less likely to go public or be acquired by other companies. However, venture capital firms that co-invest with more heterogeneous partners are more likely to survive. The paper develops a new method for empirically examining the formation of syndication among multiple firms. It also addresses issues of endogeneity.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 54
Keywords: Venture capital syndication, investor heterogeneity
JEL Classification: G24
Date posted: March 16, 2009