Competition and Specialization in the VC Market: A Non-Monotonic Relationship
32 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2014 Last revised: 29 Jan 2023
Date Written: May 14, 2020
We investigate the relationship between competition and stage specialization in the venture capital (VC) markets. A typical successful entrepreneurial company goes through multiple stages of VC investments; but an average VC firm specializes and participates only in a subset of these stages. We hypothesize that a VC firm's decision to stage-specialize (or not) poses a trade-off between business expansion and competition mitigation. Both effects are influenced by the intensity of competition. Consistent with a prediction of the theoretical model, we find robust empirical evidence for a non-monotonic relationship--an inverted-U shape--between competition and stage specialization in the U.S VC markets between 1980 and 2012. This result is novel and can have interesting managerial and policy implications.
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