Startups’ Common Ownership and Competition in Technology Markets

Grant Type: doctoral

Grant Year: 2022

Grant Amount: $15,000

Grant description:

This project will examine the effect of common ownership of technology startups by venture capitalists on those firms’ outcomes, such as shutdowns, exits via mergers or acquisitions, and Initial Public Offerings. The author seeks to contribute to the literature on how common ownership may impact competition and innovation by studying spillovers among technology startups in the portfolios of multiple venture capital firms. It will explore two questions: Do venture capitalists’ common ownership of technology startups have anticompetitive effects, and by affecting startups’ outcomes, can common ownership impact the market structure of technology industries? The focus on the technology sector allows the author to look at competition between like firms. Because venture capitalists have a lot of decision-making power, the author theorizes that the effects could be strong since venture capital firms focus on the innovation pipeline. Therefore, the project expects to speak to how competition can be stifled in the seed stages of venture funding. The project will proceed in three stages: Develop a stylized analytical model to highlight the main incentives at play; present reduced-form evidence on the effects of common ownership on startups’ outcomes; and develop a structural matching model of venture capital firms and startups.

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