Venture Capital Data: Opportunities and Challenges
Despite the extent of interest in venture capital, substantial misunderstandings about this intermediary persist. Venture capitalists typically do not disclose much information to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission or other regulators. This has led to a shortage of reliable industry data, but industry advocates and critics still make sweeping claims about venture capital on shaky empirical foundations. This lack of a comprehensive dataset has also posed challenges to academic research. This chapter describes the available data and research on venture capital investments and performance. We comment on the challenges inherent in those data and research as well as possible opportunities to do better. We describe the data and research on investments by venture capital funds in portfolio companies, and then describe the data and research on investments (by institutional investors and wealthy individuals) in the venture capital funds.
*University of Chicago Booth School of Business and NBER, and **Harvard Business School and NBER. This paper was prepared for the NBER-CRIW Conference on Measuring Entrepreneurial Businesses: Current Knowledge and Challenges. We thank Rick Townsend for very helpful comments. Kaplan and Lerner have consulted to venture capital general partners and limited partners and have invested in venture capital funds. Lerner thanks Harvard Business School’s Division of Research for support. Kaplan thanks the Fama-Miller Center at Chicago Booth. Address correspondence to Steve Kaplan, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, email@example.com and Josh Lerner, Harvard Business School, firstname.lastname@example.org. All errors and omissions are our own.
Steven N. Kaplan
Kaplan has consulted to venture fund general partners and limited partners.Josh Lerner
Kaplan and Lerner have consulted to venture capital general partners and limited partners and have invested in venture capital funds.