This study examined the criteria used by venture capitalists to evaluate business plans in order to make investment decisions. A literature survey revealed two competing theories: 'espoused criteria' where evaluation decisions are based on what venture capitalists say are the decisive factors, versus the use of 'known attributes' that successful ventures actually possess. Brunswik's Lens Model from Social Judgment Theory guided an empirical investigation of several different evaluation methods based on information contained in 129 business plans submitted for venture capital over a three-year period. Data evaluation culminated in the comparison of the percentage of correct decisions ('hit rate') for each method. We found that decisions based on the known attributes of successful ventures have significantly better hit rates than decisions made using espoused criteria. Discussion centered on the goal of achieving consistency in the conduct of venture analysis. Process standardization can aid in the achievement of consistency. Future research will both deepen and broaden insights.
Field of Research
150205 Investment and Risk Management
Socio Economic Objective
910499 Management and Productivity not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category
C3.1 Non-refereed articles in a professional journal