This paper investigates the differences in the return generating process of venture capital (VC)-backed firms and their peers that operate without VC financing. Using a unique hand-picked database of 990 VC-backed Belgian firms and a complete population of Belgian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), we focus on the extent to which the presence of a VC investor affects the sensitivity of a firm's returns to the changes in the capital structure, in the operating cycle, and in the industry dynamics. The differences may stem from the (self-) selection of better companies into VC portfolios, from the venture capitalists' (VCs) value-adding activities, and/or from both. We examine these factors in the context of a complex simulation procedure which allows separating selection from value-adding when traditional approaches are difficult to implement. Our results indicate that VC-backed firms are able to extract more rent from the changing industry conditions and from the optimizations in their capital structure. The presence of VCs in the firm's equity seems to have only a marginal effect on the operating cycle efficiency. Overall, the results are suggestive of the value-adding being the main driver of the VC-backed firm's performance.
- Venture capital