43 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2019
Date Written: September 1, 2019
VCs prefer secrecy when searching for targets. As a result, only the investments in viable startups are disclosed but the failed ones are discarded silently. We extend the standard preemption game to explain the efficiency loss and the individual rationale of doing so. We show that secrecy creates pessimism. Compared to the fully disclosing case, VCs will stop hunting for startups too early in an initially promising industry. This could happen even if no technology failures are observed in realization. However, hiding failures becomes a dominant strategy when the return of the VC industry is right-skewed. VCs use secret scouting to make the competitors believe that the industry is a dead end and reduce the preemption threats.
Keywords: Preemption, Venture Capital, Search, Disclosure
JEL Classification: G14, G24, G32, D62, D83
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation