Persistent Blessings of Luck: Theory and an Application to Venture Capital
54 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2017 Last revised: 12 Oct 2020
Date Written: October 9, 2020
Persistent performance in venture capital is routinely interpreted as evidence for skill. We present a dynamic model of delegated investment with endogenous fund heterogeneity and deal flow, which generates performance persistence without skill differences and predicts mean reversion in long-term performance. Investors working with multiple funds utilize contingent payments and tiered contracts to induce proper project nurturing and managerial effort. Successful funds receive continuation contracts that tolerate investment failure and encourage innovation, and subsequently finance entrepreneurs through a path-dependent assortative matching favoring incumbents. Recent empirical findings corroborate the model's general implications and the economic mechanisms are robust to, among others, short-term contracting, endogenous bargaining, and double moral hazard issues.
Keywords: Contracting, Deal Flows, Delegated Investment, Entrepreneurial Finance, Managerial Skill, Moral Hazard, Private Equity, Venture Capital
JEL Classification: G10, L26, O31, G24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation