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Fund size, limited attention and valuation of venture capital backed firms

By Douglas Cumming and Na Dai

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of fund size on investee firm valuations in the venture capital market. We show a convex (U-shape) relationship between fund size and firm valuations. We further document that firm valuations are positively correlated to measures of limited attention. In addition, we show a concave (inverse U-shape) relationship between fund size and venture's performance measured as the probability of successful exits. Further, this relation is particularly strong when the pre-money valuation of the investment is high. Our findings hold across a wide range of robustness checks, including but not limited to sample selection and correction for unobserved company-level value drivers. Our findings support the notion that there is diseconomy of scale in the venture capital industry, which is partially due to the constraints from the quality and quantity of human capital when fund size grows.Venture capital Fund size Limited attention Private equity valuation

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