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Building relationships early: Banks in venture capital. Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

By Thomas Hellmann, Laura Lindsey and Manju Puri


The importance of the investor’s organizational structure is increasingly recognized in modern finance. This paper examines the role of banks in the US venture capital market. Theory suggests that unlike independent venture capital firms, banks can seek complementarities between their venture capital and lending activities. We find no evidence that banks transfer origination or screening skills from their lending to their venture capital activities. However, our analysis suggests that banks use venture capital relationships to bolster their lending activities. Banks target their venture investments to companies that are more likely to subsequently raise loans. Having made an investment as a venture capitalist increases a bank’s likelihood of providing a loan. Companies may benefit from these relationships through more favorable loan pricing. The analysis suggests that banks are strategic investors in the venture capital market, and provides a cautionary note for relying on banks for the development of a venture capital industry.

Year: 2008
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