Intangibles in a venture capital setting

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2014
Thesis identifier
  • T13692
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • In recent years intangibles have taken a more prominent role in the economy. Within the technology sector, young companies may have very little in terms of tangible assets. With no assets to serve as collateral, these companies often find it difficult to obtain funding. Venture capital firms attempt to fill this funding gap by providing finance in exchange for equity. This research considers intangibles from the point of view of the venture capitalist. Specific emphasis is made on patenting, as a formal way of protecting intellectual property. In high technology firms patents not only prevent competitors from copying inventions, but may also preclude them from advancing in their technologies. The availability of patent statistics enables objective measurement of the level of IP protection. The role of the reporting of intangibles in the investment decision is considered. Then, the role of intangibles per se is examined. The link between patenting and the level of investment is explored further. In a move away from the previous studies which focused only on existing datasets, unstructured interviews were conducted amongst early stage investor associations. Thereafter, a series of interviews was carried out amongst venture capitalists in the United Kingdom. Finally, a new dataset was constructed which includes information on venture capital investments, financial accounting information, and data relating to patenting. This data was then analysed statistically using regression techniques. Policy making organisations have been promoting the need for increased reporting on intangibles. However, key findings suggest that venture capitalists consider the existing level of reporting of intangible assets by investee companies to be adequate. Increased complexity within the financial reports does not reduce the level of due diligence carried out. They are more concerned about the nature of the intangibles than the financial reporting aspect. Although this study identifies a link between patenting and the level of investment by venture capitalists, they consider the business proposition as a whole, and no specific value is ascribed to patents.
Resource Type
Date Created
  • 2014
Former identifier
  • 1028945