Venture capitalists' evaluations of start-up teams: Trade-offs, knock-out criteria, and the impact of VC experience

Nikolaus Franke, Marc Gruber, Dietmar Harhoff, Joachim Henkel

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review

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The start-up team plays a key role in venture capitalists' evaluations of venture proposals. Our findings go beyond existing research, first by providing a detailed exploration of VCs' team evaluation criteria, and second by investigating the moderator variable of VC experience. Our results reveal utility trade-offs between team characteristics and thus provide answers to questions such as 'What strength does it take to compensate for a weakness in characteristic A?' Moreover, our analysis reveals that novice VCs tend to focus on the qualifications of individual team members, while experienced VCs focus more on team cohesion. Data was obtained in a conjoint experiment with 51 professionals in VC firms and analyzed using discrete choice econometric models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459 - 483
JournalEntrepreneurship: Theory and Practice (ET&P)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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