Article | Journal of Financial Economics | January 2008

Venture Capital Investment Cycles: The Impact of Public Markets

by Paul Gompers, Anna Kovner, Josh Lerner and David Scharfstein

Abstract

It is well documented that the venture capital industry is highly volatile and that much of this volatility is associated with shifting valuations and activity in public equity markets. This paper examines how changes in public market signals affected venture capital investing between 1975 and 1998. We find that venture capitalists with the most industry experience increase their investments the most when public market signals become more favorable. Their reaction to an increase is greater than the reaction of venture capital organizations with relatively little industry experience and those with considerable experience but in other industries. The increase in investment rates does not affect the success of these transactions adversely to a significant extent. These findings are consistent with the view that venture capitalists rationally respond to attractive investment opportunities signaled by public market shifts.

Keywords: Venture Capital; Investment; Experience and Expertise; Public Equity; Volatility; Financial Services Industry;

Citation:

Gompers, Paul, Anna Kovner, Josh Lerner, and David Scharfstein. "Venture Capital Investment Cycles: The Impact of Public Markets." Journal of Financial Economics 87, no. 1 (January 2008): 1–23. (Earlier versions distributed as National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 11385.)