Venture Capital Investment In The United States 1995-2002

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Venture Capital Investment in the United States 1995-2002Milford B. GreenDepartment of GeographySocial Science CentreUniversity of Western OntarioLondon, Canada N6A 5C2ABSTRACTThis paper provides an empirical examination of the investments by venture capitalfirms for the period before, during and after the stock market bubble of 1999 and2000. Comparisons are made between pre-bubble, bubble and post-bubbleinvestment patterns by state for location, stage and industry of investment.Location quotients for investments by state and industry are displayed. States withlarge levels of investment show well-balanced investments across industries, whilestates with smaller totals do not. Median polish is applied to a four-way crosstabulation table of venture capital investments defined by state location ofinvestment, industry of investment, year of investment and stage of investment.The parameter estimates show California as a location for investment issignificantly different in scale, industry and stage of investment from other states.The investment bubble of 1999 and 2000 is found to have created different patternsof investment compared to those of the pre and post bubble periods.Key words: venture capital, United States, stock market bubble, location quotients,median polishactivity was singular because of itssize. The situation of so much moneyINTRODUCTIONchasing investments makes the periodVenture capital investment in theof particular interest. What impact, ifUnited States has displayed a rollerany, did this abundance of capitalcoaster pattern. The industry hashave on the geography of ventureexperienced high and low periods ofcapital investment?investment activity since the 1970s(Gompers & Lerner 1999; LernerThe purpose of this paper is therefore,2002; Gompers 2002).The stockto provide an empirical examination ofmarket exuberance of 1999 and 2000the investments by venture capitalwas matched in equal intensity byfirms for the period before, during andventure capital investment when moreafter this bubble. The basic questionthan 161 billion was invested in theis whether this period of investmentsame period (Venture Economicsexuberance resulted in any change in2003). An investment level that inthe industry or geography of2000, was more than four times that ofinvestment patterns.This study1998. That wave of investment endedexamines those patterns for the periodwith the demise of the dot com bubble1995 to 2002. Comparisons are madein mid 2000. This latest burst ofThe Industrial Geographer, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp. 2-30 2004 Green

The Industrial Geographerof course uncertain, but severalprojections exist.The worst casescenario is that the venture capitalindustry reverts back to levels lastseen in the 1980s. This would requireabout one-half of the existing venturecapital firms to exit (Meeham et al,2000). Even if this were to happen,venture capital investment would stillbe an important component offinancial capital, as the extantliterature demonstrates.between pre-bubble, bubble and postbubble investment patterns by statefor location, stage and industry ofinvestment.VENTURE CAPITALLiles (1974) in his definition ofventurecapitalprovidesfourcharacteristics:1) Investment in any high riskventure2) Investment in unproven ideas,products, or start-up situations. Thischaracterizes seed capital.3) Investment in existing firms thatare unable to raise funds fromconventional public or commercialsources.4) Investment in large publiclytraded companies and possiblyacquiring controlling interest in suchcompanies where uncertainty issignificant.Venture capital is important from ageographicperspectivefortwoprimary reasons. First, it is wellknown that the venture capitalindustry and its investments arespatially concentrated (Sorenson &Stuart 2001; Cooke 2001), and second,the industry is thought to have apositiveimpactonregionaldevelopment. Although there is somedebate about the extent to whichventure capital investment is aprimary agent, it is certain thatgovernments and the bulk of theliterature express a belief it isimportant.An additional characteristic is theimportance of equity and high growthpotential as recognized by Gompersand Lerner (1999). They defineventure capital as; ‘independentlymanaged, dedicated pools of capitalthat focus on equity or equity-linkedinvestments in privately held, highgrowth companies’ (p. 11). Althoughventure capital is often associatedwith high technology investments, thisis certainly not always the case. Sincethe recent decline of investment by theventure capital industry beginning in2000, non-technology sectors areattracting more capital. Venturecapital funds are sitting on about 80billion of unused capital. This iscoupled with no compelling newtechnology. Therefore, firms are facingpressure to put that money to work.(Stein 2003). What the future holds, isGreenThe BubbleTheventurecapitalindustryexperienced a dramatic increase infunding levels starting in 1999 andculminating in mid 2000, mirroringthe stock market bubble of the sameperiod. The bursting of the bubbleresulted in dramatic declines ininvestment levels, with more troubleto come (Brown and Berman, 2003).This bubble is thought to have alteredthe investment patterns of theindustry. Works such as those byMason and Rohner (2002) and3

The Industrial GeographerGompers and Lerner (2001) thatprovide ‘how to’ and more importantly‘how should’ advice for venturefunding by mature corporations mayindicate a shift in the industry from acottage type one to a more formalinstitutionalized one. There is moreand more emphasis being placed oncorporate-sponsored venture capital inplace of the independent firms thatnow dominate the industry. Otherobservers cite a contraction incorporate-sponsored venture capital(Abouzeki 2002). Clearly the situationis till in flux.asymmetries do exist, venture capitalfirms are still the most efficientfinancial intermediaries in manyinstances. In fact, they argue that thegreater the asymmetries in anindustry (examples are biotechnologyand software) the more likely venturecapitalists will be involved asinvestors. This is of course, has been acharacteristic of observed venturecapital investment over the lastdecade.Lerner (2002) argues that the bubbleof 1999 and 2000 was due to theimperfect nature of the venture capitalmarket. Investors may be slow to reactto more favorable conditions, andthen, once investment starts, they areslow to react to deterioratingconditions. This creates an over shootof investment. There is coupled withthe problem of information lagsbecause of the length of time betweenthe commitment to an investment andthe realization of its quality can bequite long. The conservative nature offirm valuations provided by theventure capitalists further exacerbatesthe market imperfections. Since fewfirms are taken public in ‘cold’ periods,reporting tends to underestimateprogress in valuation, while returnsposted in ‘hot’ periods overstate thesuccess of venture capital in thoseyears (Lerne, 2002). Indeed, theseimperfections may lead to a shrinkageof the number of operating venturecapital firms (Tunick 2003). Amit et.al, (1998) argue that although suchimperfectionsorinformationModelsGreenTHE GEOGRAPHY OF VENTURECAPITALThe number of geographic studies onventure capital is limited. Theirnumber is roughly correlated with thelevel of investments being made by theindustry. The bulk of the studies datefrom the mid-1980s to the early 1990s.McNaughton (1991) provides anexcellent review of the geographicliterature before the 1990s and it neednot be repeated here. But, he pointsout there are two basic models ofventure capital investment, theconventional and the geographical.The first or conventional modelpredicts diffusion of funding untilinvestment is available in all regions.This is consistent with a neoclassicalview of the spatial freedom of theavailability of capital.Thompson’s (1989) geographic modelpostulates that investment is spatiallyconstrainedandspecific,withconstantly shifting opportunities andpatterns of investment. Diffusion ofcapital is not necessarily a given.Even increases in the level of capital4

The Industrial Geographerresultedinventurecapitalistsbecoming increasing specialized andgeographically differentiated. Theselocal networks became connected totheir counterparts in the financialcenters. Essentially then, we have thecreation of local concentrations ofcapitalwithplacespecificcharacteristics coupled with thecreation of a regional or nationalbased contact system. Of course such amodel has little to say about non-hightechnology investment.available may not result in a spatialdispersion of investments because oftheimportanceofgeographicalcharacteristics of areas (industrialtraditions,corporateculture,industrial knowledge, uncertainty). Inthis model, not only is diffusion of theindustry not a given, increasedconcentration is a real possibility.Green (1991) postulates a model ofventure capital diffusion based on anexamination of investment preferencesand venture capital firms’ locations forthe period 1970 to 1988. He postulatesthat at the urban center level, venturecapital will trickle down to lower ordercenters over time.Increasedspecialization will occur over time andlower order cities will begin to hostventure capital firms. Investment willstill be concentrated within urbanareas.It is implicit that suchdiffusion will take place at a nationalscale, although more recent historyseems to indicate there is still a verystrong regional bias, as discussed laterin this paper.All of these geographic models agreethat geography will remain important.All three allow for an expansion of theindustry while maintaining a stronglocal character.The degree ofdiffusion and specialization if any, iswhat is open to question. Might thesudden infusion of much larger capitalpools (as in the bubble) acceleratesuch an expansion or specializationand challenge the previous spatialconcentration of venture capitalinvestments? Presumably there arelimitedacceptablefundingopportunities within a local region ormetropolitan area. Increased capitalpools would have to be invested eitherin more distant investments, lesssectorally focused investments, acombination of the two, or in riskierones.A fourth model, by Florida and Smith(1993) postulates a diffusion ofventure capital deriving from initialconcentrationsoffinancialinstitutions.The venture capitalindustry established outposts withinemerging high technology industries.The success of these ventures, createdpools of indigenous capital. The highrisk nature of such investmentsallowed the emergence of local venturecapitalists whose geographic proximityis crucial. Over time, they createdhightechnologynetworks.Therequirements of such proximityGreenThese models provide predictions intothe evolution of venture capital in theUnited States, but what has actuallyoccurred since their presentation?How has the pattern of investmentprogressed over the last eight years?This paper deals with this question.5

The Industrial rted by outside institutions suchas universities and government. Theyare maintained by the creation ofpersonal contact systems between andwithventurecapitalistsandentrepreneurs (Sorenson & Stuart2001), although the extent and depthof these vary (Saxenian 2000). Thesesystems are rooted in geographicalproximity which helps with thetransmission of tacit knowledge(Desroches 1999). This clustering orproximity can provide an innovationrich environment (Porter 1998, 2001).Other contributing factors are qualityof life, local business climate andresource access. Silicon Valley is oftenlooked to as a model of economicdevelopment that can be jump started.Its usefulness as a model isquestionable because its history ofdevelopment is much longer than iscommonly realized (Sturgeon 2000).In fact, there is little agreement on itsapplicability as a model at all (Leslie2000). What is clear, is that venturecapital can play an important andperhaps a vital role in thecommercialization of innovation andwealth creation (Gompers & Lerner2001). Bygrave and Timmons (1992)identify seven urban regional clustersof and is dominated by technologyoriented investing. New York andChicago are finance oriented centers.Much of the capital raised there goeselsewhere. Boston and Minneapolisare also technology oriented and drawcapital both locally and nationally.ConnecticutandTexasbothexperience substantial outflows ofcapital.The last decade or so has seen only afew efforts at geographically focusedresearch on venture capital in theUnited States. This is somewhatsurprising since up to mid 2000 therewas a spectacular increase in theamount of venture capital being raisedand disbursed.The depth of geographically focusedUS-based venture capital researchconsiderably expanded from Leinbachand Amrhein (1987) up until the early1990s. There was a hiatus for most ofthe 1990s but in the last several years,there has been a resurgence ofinterest. These papers are not coveredin McNaughton’s (1991) review of thegeographic literature, and are thusreviewed here. Of course, recognitionof the spatial unevenness of venturecapital availability goes back muchfurther(Tribus1970).Thisaccumulation of research has pitalinvestments. In addition, the highdegree of spatial concentration of bothinvestments and investors is stillevident. This concentration can nowbe almost considered axiomatic.The importance of venture capitalavailability for some regions (mostnotably Silicon Valley and the Route128 area around Boston) is wellestablished (Saxenian 2000; Kenney &von Burg 2000; Bygrave & Timmons1992). Although these entrepreneurialregions were not created by venturecapital alone, it was certainly anecessaryconditionthatwasGreen6

The Industrial GeographerThey followed up with an analysis ofventure capital’s role in regionalinnovation systems (Smith & Florida2000). As in their previous work, theyfound that California, New York andMassachusettswerethemajorlocations of venture capital resources.The major targets of disbursementswere California, Massachusetts andTexas.NewYorkstateisconspicuously absent.They arguethat venture capitalists operate astechnologicalgatekeepers.Theventure capitalists help determine thedirection of technological changethrough the funding of new companiesandfinancingbreakthroughtechnology. Sorenson and Stuart(2001) provide an interesting analysisof the role of distance and industryexperience on the spatial distributionof venture capital investments. Theemphasis in the paper is on theimportance of personal networks. Theyfind a very strong distance decayfunction for an investment target’slocation as one moves away from theventurecapitalist.Previousexperience in the target’s industry alsoincreases the likelihood of investment,as does the use of deal syndication.Stuart and Sorenson (2002) find thesetraits present in their industry ofinvestigation, the biotechnology sector.Work by Gupta and Sapienza (1992)indicates that venture capital firmsthat specialize in early stageinvestmenthaveanarrowergeographic focus coupled with anarrow industry focus as well.Corporate-based venture capital firmshave broader geographic orientations.The larger the firm, the greater thegeographicscopeandindustrydiversity considered in investments.This they say indicates that venturecapital firms are not homogeneous intheir portfolio selection.Florida and Smith (1993) examinedventure capital patterns in the US forthe mid 1980s. They found that therewas a well developed spatial structurewith capital flowing to areas ofgreatest returns. They found, as didBygrave and Timmons (1992), thatthere are considerable outflows ofcapital from major financial centerssuch as New York, Chicago, LosAngeles and San Francisco to areas ofhightechnologyconcentration.Although capital is obtained from anarray of locations, the investment ofthat capital is highly concentrated.They reported that California, NewYork and Massachusetts were the toplocations for venture capital offices in1987. For metropolitan statisticalareas (MSAs), New York City was thetop location for offices followed byBostonandSanFrancisco.Geographic proximity was found tostill be important although hatconstraint.GreenThe localized nature of venture capitalinvestment(clustering)isanimportant component in turecapitalinvestment is a contributing factor tothe development of a new system ofstrategic cities in the US based on thenew economy. This is the economy of7

The Industrial Geographergreaterproductivityinformation technology.createdtreebyconducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson VentureEconomics and the National VentureCapital Association.The surveyreports the quarter, year, industry,stage, financing sequence and locationof venture capital investments for theperiod 1995 forward. Zook (2002),Norton (2001) and Mason andHarrison (1999) have also used thissurvey. The survey divides industryinto 17 classes (see appendix), seveninvestment stages, all 50 states plusWashington, D.C., and up to 30sequential investments. Because ofthe laboriousness of the collectionprocess only four of the seven stageswere used (startup, early, later andexpansion) but these for account for 97percent of the investments by value.The data was compiled from almost3500 spreadsheets downloaded fromthe web site. Access to the s. This paperrestricts itself to the period 1995 to2002.Powell et al. (2002) in their study ofthe relationship between venturecapitalandthefoundingofbiotechnology firms come to similarconclusions.As with many otherstart-ups in other industries thebiotechnology industry is spatiallyconcentrated. As the venture capitalcompanies become older and largerthey invest in more distant regions.Powell concludes that deliberatereplication of existing hotbeds ofbiotech start-ups would be difficult.The latest work featuring the UnitedStates is by Zook (2002) with his studyof the impact of venture capital on thedevelopment of the Internet.Heargues that the location of venturecapital financing was central to thedetermination of the location of newInternet start-up firms. He, as haveothers, stresses the importance of thepersonal networks and knowledge ofthe venture capitals as importantattributes.Geographical proximitybetweeninvestorandinvesteefacilities the success of the venture.Thequarterlysurveyincludesinvestments by professional venturecapitalfirms,SmallBusinessInvestment Companies (SBICs), theventurearmsofcorporations,institutions, and investment banks.Members of the National VentureCapital Association, a co-sponsor ofthe survey, are the main participants.If other participants are involved, suchas angel investors or corporations, theentire amount of the investment isreported. It is likely that the surveymay under report angel investors.Survey submissions are made byinternet and are done by registeredEven though there has been a recentresurgence of interest, it has generallybeen focused on investment in specificindustries such as biotechnology.There has not been a general overviewof the location, stage or industry ofinvestment. This description of USventure capital investment, which isover due, is provided in this paper.DATAThe data is drawn from the Money-GreenSurvey8

The Industrial Geographerment. At its maximum in 2000, justover 14.5% of the cells had nonzeroinvestments, so 85.5% did not.Therefore, the norm is not to receivecapital. Investment is concentratednot only by state but by industrysectoraswell.Theindustryinvestment pattern is illustrated inTable 2. Detailed descriptions of theindustry classes may be found in theappendix.membersofthesurveysite.Individual investors are not identified.To be included, investment targetsmust be located in the United Stateseven if they have substantialinternational activities (PriceWaterhouseCoopers 2003). Although thereare no estimates provided as to thecomprehensiveness of the survey, itappears comprehensive. More detailsare available at the Moneytree Surveyinternet web site.The top four industry classes of:software (17.4%), telecommunications(15.4%), networking (10.0%) andmedia (9.1%) comprise more than 50%of total investment. If these four aregrouped within the broad category ofinformation technology, the totalpercentage is even greater thanFreeman’s (2002) estimates of one-halfof all investments going to that group.Telecommunications and media havethe highest average investments at 12.1 and 11.3 million respectively.The smallest average investmentsamong the major industry classes aresoftware and medical both at 6.1million. Figure 1 illustrates thetemporal pattern of investment for thetop four industry groups as well astotalinvestment.Thefigureillustrates the increase in investmentas one approaches the bubble period rindustryinvestmentpatternsindicates there are some temporaldifferences in investment during the1995 to 2002 period, as evidenced bythe varying slopes of the trend lines.INVESTMENT FROM 1995 TO 2002The eight year period of the surveysaw the total reported venture capitalinvestment of just more than 271billion. The level of investment byyear shows considerable variation.Table 1 shows an increase from 7.64billion in 1995 to a maximum of 99.72 billion in 2000 during the dotcom bubble. In the last two years, ithas declined back to 21.32 billion, alevel similar to that in 1998, ( 21.40billion) just before the bubble. Thiscompares with 94 billion for 2000 and 19.4 billion for 2002 as reported byAlster (2003). The mean investmentper deal shows a similar pattern witha maximum value of 12.2 million in2000. The number of cells in theindustry by state investment matrixfor a year (17 by 51) showing at leastone investment gives a crude measureof the broadness of investment. Thepercentage of cells with at least oneinvestment increases steadily to theyear 2000, then falls back again.Some diffusion of investment wasoccurring both geographically as wellas by industry class up until thecollapse of the bubble in 2000.Subsequent years saw a retrench-GreenFigures 2 through 4 provide a pictorialdisplay of the location quotients of9

The Industrial Geographerinvestment for these four majorindustry groups by state for the period1995 to 2002 inclusive. The readershould note the maps are color codedto match their respective trends linesin Figure 1.A similar approach is taken here, butin this instance it is for all 50 statesand the District of Columbia coveringthe entire period of 1995 to 2002. Amodifiedlocationquotientiscalculated for each of four majorindustries of investment; software,telecommunication, networking andmedia. Instead of using employmentin the quotient, investment in dollarswas used (equation 1).Althoughnormally employment is used inLOCATION QUOTIENTSMason and Harrison (1999) provide atable of location quotients for USventure capital disbursements for theyears 1996 and the first three quarters1997. The table is for a mix of states,regions and metropolitan areas. Thismix of spatial scale makes theirinterpretation problematic.(1)Table 1: Total Venture Capital Investments GreenMean investment per deal(millions )% cells occupiedNumber ofdeals1884Investment (billions 210

The Industrial GeographerTable 2: Investments by Industry Class 1995-2002IndustryPercent TotalAverageNumber ofInvestment in Investment 633303quotients are not where one mightexpect them, such as California. Thelargest quotient is for West Virginia at3.1, and the second is for NorthDakota at 2.5. These states alongwith Utah and Montana all have lowamounts of total investment with themajority in software.With theexception of Utah these statesreceived the majority of their fundingduring the bubble period. This isindicates a very recent diffusion ofcapital.the calculation of location quotients, inprinciple any measure that canprovide state and national totals couldbe used. Because the data provides anear population sample, the use ofinvestment for total state and nationalinvestment should not be problematic.Location quotient values greater thanone for a given industry signifyventure capital investment greaterthan expected.The quotient is arelative measure for a given amount ofinvestment in state in a particularindustry, so it is unaffected bydifferentials in absolute investmentvolumes between states.Figure 2 shows the distribution oflocation quotients for the totalsoftware investments by value for theperiod 1995 to 2002. The 2814331209114210861023921533112Telecommunications investments areshown in Figure 3. Again we find thestates with the highest quotients aresome of those with very moderatelevels if investment.11

The Industrial Geographerof 0.07. This indicates California hasa very balanced set of locationquotients. Rounding out the top fourwe have Massachusetts (rankedsecond lowest) with 0.14, New York(ranked 13th) with 0.56 and Texas(ranked 19th) 0.97. The strength of therelationship between balance ofinvestment and investment totalsdeclines as the size of a state’s totalinvestment declines (r -0.61 for topfive states, r -0.51 for top 10 states,r -0.29 for all states).AnexceptionisColorado(quotient 1.9) with a total of 10.9billion (see Table 3). Hawaii has thehighest quotient with 6.2 followed byMississippi with 5.9. Unlike the casewith software, the investments wereevenly spread across the years. Of thetop four states by investment(California, Massachusetts, New Yorkand Texas) only Texas has a quotientabove one with a value of 1.3.Figure 4 shows the pattern ofquotients for network investments. Asmentioned previously, California has agreater than expected level ofinvestment in network developmentfirms. It is however just above one at1.06. The highest location quotient isfor New Hampshire at 2.8, followed byMaryland at 2.5.Both statesexperienced investment spread overmost of the years. Twenty-one stateshad no investment at all.If a similar approach is taken tomeasure the balance across stateswithin an industry by measuring thevariance of the location quotients, wefind software has the lowest variance.The only industries to exhibit verylarge variances were consumer andhealth. Large variances indicatesubstantialstatedifferencesinattracting investment.The last industry class is media,shown in Figure 5. This map has thegreatest variation in quotient values.Alaska tops the list with a quotient of11.0, but that is based on only tworeported investments. The nexthighest is Montana at 3.5. Of the topfour states only New York has a valuemore than one with a value of 1.98.Only eight states had no investment.The conclusion to be drawn from thesefigures is states with large investmenttotals tend to have moderate locationquotients.Thisisdramaticallyrevealed when the variance iscalculated for the location quotientsfor all the states across the 17industry classes. California has thelowest variance with a very low valueGreenStates with substantial investmentsexperienceincrementalchanges.Some states with little previousventure capital investments showmore severe changes. Clearly there isnot an even spatial spread ofinvestmentoutwardfromthedominant states, but a more spatiallysporadic one. The cause of this isdifficult to determine since the dataprovides no information on theinvesting or investee firms. Thepattern would seem inconsistent withGreen’s (1991) or Florida and Smith’s(1993) models.However, Thompson’s model allows forsuch a pattern given its emphasis onareal characteristics. It may also be12

The Industrial GeographerThey assert that it should be moreproperly called ‘merchant capital’,because of the preference for investingin established ventures (Bygrave andTimmon 1992) Venture capital ismoving away from its oft touted role offunding new firms with substantialrisk and moving to lower risk laterstagesoffirmdevelopmentinvestment. Increasingly capital isbeing invested at the expansion andlater stages of investment. Thisundermines the importance of venturecapital as a contributing factor forregionally based innovation. A tableof venture capital investments bystate for the study period is Table 3.indicative of personal networksproviding the impetus for entry ofinvestment.Figure 6 shows investment by stage byyear. The stages of financing aredefined by the Moneytree Survey as:Seed/Start-Up Stage - The initial stage ofdevelopment. The firm has a concept orproduct under development. The age of thefirm is probably less than 18 months.Early Stage - Firm’s product in testing or pilotproduction. Firm is usually less than threeyears old and may or maybe not be generatingrevenues.Expansion Stage - The firm’s product is inproduction and available. Significant revenuegrowth is evident although the firm may notyet be profitable. The firm is usually morethan three years old.When looking at total investmentthere is little surprise at the stateslisted at the top.California,Massachusetts, New York, Texas andColorado are often cited as recipients.Together they account for more than62% of all investment. However, rawtotals don’t distinguish between thedifferent sizes of the states’ economies.To more effectivel

investment, industry of investment, year of investment and stage of investment. The parameter estimates show California as a location for investment is significantly different in scale, industry and stage of investment from other states. The investment bubble of 1999 and 2000 is found to have created different patterns

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