A growing body of literature examines the formation of strategic alliances as an important value-added role provided by venture capital firms. This paper contributes to this literature by examining two related questions: whether venture capital firms use strategic alliances as a substitute or compliment to capital infusion, and how venture capital firms use alliances to mitigate different types of risk. Results from 2505 venture-backed startups reveal that venture capital firms treat alliance formation as a substitute for capital infusion and that the breadth of the network of syndication partners investing in the startup increases the number of its strategic alliances. We also find intentionality in alliance formation. Specifically, firms operating in industry environments characterized by technical risk are more likely to form alliances with partners capable of mitigating technical risks, and firms operating in environments characterized by market risk are more likely to form alliances with partners capable of mitigating market risk. Our findings lend additional support to the perspective that alliances represent an important mechanism through which venture capital firms add value to their portfolio companies.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 25, 2009
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