The Relevance of Financial versus Non-Financial Information for the Valuation of Venture Capital-Backed Firms
46 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2009 Last revised: 7 Nov 2014
Date Written: October 2, 2012
This study examines the relevance of financial and non-financial information for the valuation of venture-capital investments. Based on a hand-collected dataset on venture-backed start-ups in Germany, we investigate the internal due diligence documents of over 200 investment rounds. We document that balance sheet and income statement items capture as much economic content as verifiable non-financial information (e.g., team experience or the number of patents) while controlling for several deal characteristics (e.g., industry, investment round, or yearly venture capital fund inflows). In addition, we show that valuations based on accounting and non-accounting information yield a level of valuation accuracy that is comparable to that of publicly traded firms. Further analyses show that the industry-specific total asset multiples outperform the popular revenue multiples but lead to significantly less accurate results than those obtained from the more comprehensive valuation models. Overall, our findings might inform researchers and standard setters of the usefulness of accounting information for investment companies and provide additional evidence to gauge the overall valuation accuracy in venture capital settings.
Keywords: value relevance, equity valuation, venture capital, human capital, start-ups
JEL Classification: G24, G32, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation