UCL School of Management

Research seminar

Organisational decision-making and information: angel investments by VC partners


Andy Wu, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania


Friday, 13 November 2015
10:00 – 11:30

We study the role of information in organisational decision-making for the financing of entrepreneurial ventures. We formally model a committee of agents who vote to allocate resources to a project with unknown outcome. The agents are endowed with costless explicit information, and they can each acquire costly tacit information to improve their decision quality.

Equilibrium outcomes suggest a theoretical tension for group decision-making between the benefits of information aggregation and a cost from the participation of uninformed agents, and this tension presents a boundary condition for when a group decision is superior to an individual decision.

We test our predictions in the setting of a particular phenomenon in venture capital: private angel investments by the partners outside of their employer, which represent investments passed on by the employer. Venture capital partners, acting independently with their personal funds, make investments into younger firms with less educated and younger founding teams than their employing VC firms, but these investments perform financially similarly or better on some metrics even when controlling for investment size, stage, and industry.

Geographic distance and technological inexperience by the VC increase the probability the investment is taken up by a partner and not the VC. This work contributes to an emerging stream of literature on information aggregation in organisations and the established literatures on resource allocation and incumbent spin-outs.

Open to
All students
Last updated Tuesday, 3 November 2015