Posts Tagged ‘Entrepreneurs’

Silicon Valley Venture Survey—Third Quarter 2013

Posted by Noam Noked, co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Saturday December 14, 2013 at 9:06 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Barry J. Kramer, partner in the corporate and securities group at Fenwick & West LLP and is based on a Fenwick publication by Mr. Kramer and Michael J. Patrick; the full publication, including expanded detailed results and valuation data, is available here.

We analyzed the terms of venture financings for 128 companies headquartered in Silicon Valley that reported raising money in the third quarter of 2013.

Overview of Fenwick & West Results

Valuation results in 3Q13 showed a noticeable increase over 2Q13, including the greatest difference between up and down rounds in over six years. The software industry was especially strong, not only valuation-wise, but also in the number of deals.

Here are the more detailed results:

…continue reading: Silicon Valley Venture Survey—Third Quarter 2013

Private Company Financing Trends for 1H 2013

Posted by Noam Noked, co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Thursday August 22, 2013 at 8:57 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Craig Sherman, partner focusing on corporate and securities law at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and first appeared in the firm’s Entrepreneurs Report.

In Q2 2013, up rounds (including several second-stage seed financings) as a percentage of total deals increased modestly compared with Q1 2013. While pre-money valuations remained strong for both venture-led and angel Series A deals that had closings in Q2, valuations of companies doing Series B and later rounds declined significantly. Median amounts raised increased modestly for angel-backed Series A deals but fell for venture-backed companies, while amounts raised increased for Series B deals, but fell for Series C and later rounds.

Deal terms remained broadly similar in 1H 2013 as compared with 2012, with a couple of notable exceptions. First, the use of uncapped participation rights in both up and down rounds continued to decline. Second, down rounds also saw a shift away from the use of senior liquidation preferences.

Up and Down Rounds

Up rounds represented 67% of all new financings in Q2 2013, an increase from 60% in Q1 2013 but still down markedly from the 76% figure for up rounds in Q4 2012. Similarly, down rounds as a percentage of total deals declined from 26% in Q1 2013 to 18% in Q2 2013, but were still higher than the 14% figure for Q4 2012. The percentage of flat rounds grew slightly, from 14% of all deals in Q1 2013 to 15% in Q2 2013.

…continue reading: Private Company Financing Trends for 1H 2013

The Capital Structure Decisions of New Firms

Posted by R. Christopher Small, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Tuesday July 23, 2013 at 9:16 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Alicia Robb, Senior Fellow with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and David Robinson, Professor of Finance at Duke University.

Understanding how capital markets affect the growth and survival of newly created firms is perhaps the central question of entrepreneurial finance. Yet, much of what we know about entrepreneurial finance comes from firms that are already established, have already received venture capital funding, or are on the verge of going public—the dearth of data on very-early-stage firms makes it difficult for researchers to look further back in firms’ life histories. Even data sets that are oriented toward small businesses do not allow us to measure systematically the decisions that firms make at their founding. This article uses a novel data set, the Kauffman Firm Survey (KFS), to study the behavior and decision-making of newly founded firms. As such, it provides a first-time glimpse into the capital structure decisions of nascent firms.

In our paper, The Capital Structure Decisions of New Firms, forthcoming in the Review of Financial Studies, we use the confidential, restricted-access version of the KFS, which tracks nearly 5,000 firms from their birth in 2004 through their early years of operation. Because the survey identifies firms at their founding and follows the cohort over time, recording growth, death, and any later funding events, it provides a rich picture of firms’ early fund-raising decisions.

…continue reading: The Capital Structure Decisions of New Firms

Carrots & Sticks: How VCs Induce Entrepreneurial Teams to Sell Startups

Posted by Jesse Fried, Harvard Law School, on Wednesday February 27, 2013 at 9:23 am
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Editor’s Note: Jesse Fried is a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and Brian Broughman is an Associate Professor of Law at the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Venture capitalists (VCs) play a significant role in the financing of high-risk, technology-based business ventures. VC exits usually take one of three forms: an initial public offering (IPO) of a portfolio company’s shares, followed by the sale of the VC’s shares into the public market; a “trade sale” of the company to another firm; or dissolution and liquidation of the company.

Of these three types of exits, IPOs have received the most scrutiny. This attention is not surprising. IPO exits tend to involve the largest and most visible VC-backed firms. And, perhaps just as importantly, the IPO process triggers public-disclosure requirements under the securities laws, making data on IPO exits easily accessible to researchers.

But trade sales are actually much more common than IPOs and, in aggregate, are more financially important to VCs. Unlike IPOs, however, trade sales do not trigger the intense public-disclosure requirements of the securities laws; they take place in the shadows. Thus, although trade sales play a critical role in the venture capital cycle, relatively little is known about them.

In our paper, Carrots & Sticks: How VCs Induce Entrepreneurial Teams to Sell Startups recently made public on SSRN, Brian Broughman and I seek to shine more light on intra-firm dynamics around trade sales. In particular, we investigate how VCs induce the “entrepreneurial team” – the founder, other executives, and common shareholders – to go along with a trade sale that they might have an incentive to resist.

…continue reading: Carrots & Sticks: How VCs Induce Entrepreneurial Teams to Sell Startups

Delaware Law as Lingua Franca: Evidence from VC-Backed Startups

Posted by Jesse Fried, Harvard Law School, on Tuesday January 8, 2013 at 8:57 am
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Editor’s Note: Jesse Fried is a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. This post is part of the Delaware law series, which is cosponsored by the Forum and Corporation Service Company; links to other posts in the series are available here.

Delaware dominates the corporate chartering market in the U.S—it is the only state that attracts a significant number of out-of-state incorporations. As a result, incorporation decisions are “bimodal,” with public and private firms typically choosing between home-state and Delaware incorporation.

Much ink has been spilled in the debate over whether Delaware’s dominance arose because it offers high-quality or low-quality corporate law. Under the “race-to-the-top” view, Delaware has prevailed because its law maximizes firm value. Under the “race-to-the-bottom” view, Delaware has won by offering corporate law that favors insiders at other parties’ expense.

But a firm today may choose Delaware law not solely because of its inherent features but rather because, after decades of Delaware’s dominance, business parties—including investors and their lawyers—are now simply more familiar with Delaware law than the laws of other states. Indeed, the bimodal pattern of domiciling is itself strong evidence that business parties are familiar only with their home states’ corporate law and Delaware’s.

In our paper, Delaware Law as Lingua Franca: Evidence from VC-Backed Startups, recently made public on SSRN, Brian Broughman, Darian Ibrahim, and I show, for the first time, that familiarity does in fact affect firms’ decisions to domicile in Delaware rather in their home states.

…continue reading: Delaware Law as Lingua Franca: Evidence from VC-Backed Startups

Key Issues for Directors 2012

Posted by Martin Lipton, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, on Tuesday December 20, 2011 at 9:25 am
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Editor’s Note: Martin Lipton is a founding partner of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, specializing in mergers and acquisitions and matters affecting corporate policy and strategy. This post is based on a Wachtell Lipton firm memorandum by Mr. Lipton. A longer Wachtell Lipton memo discussing issues for boards in 2012 is available here.

For a number of years, as the new year approached, I have prepared a one-page list of the key issues for boards of directors that are newly emerging or will be especially important in the coming year. Each year, the legal rules and aspirational best practices for corporate governance matters, as well as the demands of activist shareholders seeking to influence boards of directors, have increased. So too have the demands of the public with respect to health, safety, environmental and other socio-political issues. In The Spotlight on Boards, I have published a list of the roles and responsibilities that boards today are expected to fulfill. Looking forward to 2012, it is clear that in addition to satisfying these expectations, the key issues that boards will need to address include:

  • 1. Working with management to navigate the dramatic changes in the domestic and world-wide economic, social and political conditions, in order to remain competitive and successful.
  • 2. Coping with the increase in regulations and changes in the general perception of business that have followed the financial crisis. Once it was said, “The business of America is business.” Today, it could be said, “The business of America is government, and a dysfunctional government at that.”
  • …continue reading: Key Issues for Directors 2012

Comparing Regulation for Domestic Firms in Different Countries

Posted by Noam Noked, co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Saturday December 3, 2011 at 8:59 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post is based on the executive summary of Doing Business 2012: Doing Business in a More Transparent World, a co-publication of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation. The lead author of the report is Sylvia Solf, program manager of the Doing Business project; more information about the team can be found here. The complete report, including omitted footnotes and figures from the summary, is available here.

Over the past year a record number of governments in Sub-Saharan Africa changed their economy’s regulatory environment to make it easier for domestic firms to start up and operate. In a region where relatively little attention was paid to the regulatory environment only 8 years ago, regulatory reforms making it easier to do business were implemented in 36 of 46 economies between June 2010 and May 2011. That represents 78% of economies in the region, compared with an average of 56% over the previous 6 years.

Worldwide, regulatory reforms aimed at streamlining such processes as starting a business, registering property or dealing with construction permits are still the most common. But more and more economies are focusing their reform efforts on strengthening legal institutions such as courts and insolvency regimes and enhancing legal protections of investors and property rights. This shift has been particularly pronounced in low- and lower-middle-income economies, where 43% of all reforms recorded by Doing Business in 2010/11 focused on aspects captured by the getting credit, protecting investors, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency indicators.

…continue reading: Comparing Regulation for Domestic Firms in Different Countries

Investment Cycles and Startup Innovation

Posted by R. Christopher Small, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Monday November 28, 2011 at 9:49 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Ramana Nanda and Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, both of the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School.

In our paper, Investment Cycles and Startup Innovation, which was recently made publicly available on SSRN, we examine how the environment in which a new venture was first funded relates to their ultimate outcome. New firms that surround the creation and commercialization of new technologies have the potential to have profound effects on the economy. The creation of these new firms and their funding is highly cyclical (Gompers et al. (2008)). Conventional wisdom associates the top of these cycles with negative attributes. In this view, an excess supply of capital is associated with money chasing deals, a lower discipline of external finance, and a belief that this leads to worse ventures receiving funding in hot markets.

However, the evidence in our paper suggests another, possibly simultaneous, phenomenon. We find that firms that are funded in “hot” times are more likely to fail but create more value if they succeed. This pattern could arise if in “hot” times more novel firms are funded. Our results provide a new but intuitive way to think about the differences in project choice across the cycle. Since the financial results we present cannot distinguish between more innovative versus simply riskier investments, we also present direct evidence on the quantity and quality of patents produced by firms funded at different times in the cycle. Our results suggest that firms funded at the top of the market produce more patents and receive more citations than firms funded in less heady times. This indicates that a more innovative firm is funded during “hot” markets.

…continue reading: Investment Cycles and Startup Innovation

Two New Corporate Forms to Advance Social Benefits in California

Posted by John F. Olson, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Georgetown Law Center, on Thursday November 17, 2011 at 10:23 am
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Editor’s Note: John Olson is a founding partner of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Washington, D.C. office and a visiting professor at the Georgetown Law Center. This post is based on a Gibson Dunn alert by David M. Hernand and Stewart L. McDowell.

On October 9, 2011, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law competing bills that create two new corporate forms in California — a “flexible purpose corporation” and a “benefit corporation” — intended to allow entrepreneurs and investors the choice of organizing companies that can pursue both economic and social objectives. The new corporate forms differ from traditional for-profit corporations that are organized to pursue profit (and not social purposes) and non-profit corporations that must be used solely to promote social benefits. These laws will take effect on January 1, 2012.

The flexible purpose corporation is created by California Senate Bill 201 (“SB 201″), which adds Division 1.5 to Title 1 of the California Corporations Code (the “Code”) and amends other related sections of the Code, and the benefit corporation is created by California Assembly Bill 361 (“AB 361″), which adds Part 13 to Division 3 of Title 1 of the Code. State Senator Mark DeSaulnier authored SB 201, and a full copy is available here. AB 361 was authored by Assemblyman Jared Huffman, and a full copy is available here. Both new laws take effect January 1, 2012.

…continue reading: Two New Corporate Forms to Advance Social Benefits in California

The Consequences of Entrepreneurial Finance

Posted by R. Christopher Small, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Friday May 14, 2010 at 9:42 am
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Editor’s Note: Josh Lerner is a Professor of Entrepreneurial Management and Finance at Harvard Business School.

In the paper, The Consequences of Entrepreneurial Finance: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis, which was recently made publicly available on SSRN, my co-authors (William Kerr and Antoinette Schoar) and I document the role of angel funding for the growth, survival, and access to follow-on funding of high-growth start-up firms. We use a regression discontinuity approach to control for unobserved heterogeneity between firms that obtain funding and those that do not. This technique exploits that a small change in the collective interest levels of the angels can lead to a discrete change in the probability of funding for otherwise comparable ventures.

The results of this study and our border analysis in particular, suggest that angel investments improve entrepreneurial success. By looking above and below the discontinuity in a restricted sample, we remove the most worrisome endogeneity problems and the sorting between ventures and investors. We find that the localized increases in interest by angels at break points, which are clearly linked to obtaining critical mass for funding, are associated with discrete jumps in future outcomes like survival and stronger web traffic performance.

…continue reading: The Consequences of Entrepreneurial Finance

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