NBER

Jesse Davis

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
4116 McColl Building
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2020The Leveraging of Silicon Valley
with Adair Morse, Xinxin Wang: w27591
Early-stage firms utilize venture debt in one-third of financing rounds despite their general lack of cash flow and collateral. In our model, we show how venture debt aligns incentives within a firm. We derive a novel theoretical channel in which runway extension through debt increases firm value while potentially lowering closure. Consistent with the model's mechanism, we find that dilution predicts venture debt issuance. Empirically, treatment with venture debt lowers closure hazard by 1.6-4.4% and increases successful exits by 4.3-5.3%. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest $41B, or 9.4% of invested capital, remains productive due to venture debt.

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