Risky Business: Venture Capital, Pivoting and Scaling
50 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2022 Last revised: 30 Sep 2023
Date Written: October 1, 2023
The creation and scaling of startups are associated with risk-taking and different types of owners treat these risks differently. We show how an active venture capital (VC) market affects risk-taking in research and scaling decisions of startups. VC-backed startups will choose more high-risk, high-reward research and scaling strategies than independent startups. The reason is temporary ownership and the compensation structures used in the VC industry. These create "exit costs" for VC-backed startups that imply that riskier strategies pay off. We also show that the presence of an active VC market may induce startups to take more risks initially since VC firms can help startups pivot in case of failure.
Keywords: Entrepreneurship, pivoting, scaling, venture capital.
JEL Classification: G24, L26, M13.
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