Information Frictions in New Venture Finance [Job Market Paper]


A recent explosion in startup activity, often linked to reduced experimentation costs, has made it challenging for venture capital (VC) firms to efficiently obtain information and perform due diligence. This paper explores frictions in the process of venture capital information acquisition using microdata from Product Hunt, an online platform covering a large number of technology startups' product launches. On a daily basis, launched products compete for ranking based on user upvotes -- a crowdsourced measure of expected consumer demand. I document that exogenously raising a product by 1 rank improves the underlying firm's funding probability within the next 6 months by 9.2% from the base rate. Launching a highly ranked product is correlated with faster subsequent deal closing, more experienced lead investor, and larger funding amount. The effect of product rank is twice as large for first-time entrepreneurs, and mainly driven by firms located away from venture capital hubs.

Last updated on 01/13/2019