Essays on cross-border venture capital and venture internationalization

Date: 22 February 2018

Venue: University of Antwerp, Promotiezaal Grauwzusters - Lange SInt-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerp (route: UAntwerpen, Stadscampus)

Time: 5:30 PM

PhD candidate: Katja Bringmann

Principal investigator: Prof Ann Verhetsel, Prof Thomas Vanoutrive

Short description: PhD defence Katja Bringmann - Faculty of Applied Economics


The dissertation attends to the evolving international venture capital industry. The topic is analyzed at three distinct but complementary levels of analysis, the macro, meso and micro level.

In a first article, the spatial dimension and determinants of aggregated international venture capital [VC] flows are analyzed by means of gravity modeling (macro level). Evidence is found for the continuing importance of physical, but also institutional and cultural proximity, between investor and target firm in the case of cross-border VC investments. Subsequently, the analysis is refined by looking at the impact of investor mobility through air transport accessibility – the opportunity cost of distance – and the likelihood of cross-border investments.

In a related study, it is consequently focused on the recipients of these cross-border VC transactions, the portfolio companies (meso level). It is explored how the early growth performance of venture capital backed organizations varies with differences in the structural and physical location of their investors in investment syndication networks. First evidence is provided that spatially more diverse co-investment networks are performance enhancing for new ventures.

In a fourth study, the central research focus remains on new ventures, however unit of analysis is instead the level of entrepreneurial founder or entrepreneurial founding teams (micro level). The aim is to look in more detail at the drivers of the international expansion of young high technology companies. More specifically, the effects on new ventures’ internationalization propensity of three international knowledge sources get addressed: (1) the pre-foundation international experience of the entrepreneur, (2) the founding team’s ex post foundation international knowledge acquisition through new manager recruitment and (3) VC funding. It is forwarded that new ventures benefit more with respect to their international expansion from the early staffing of their founding teams with external experienced managers and VC investors than from bringing in own international experiences. Hence, new ventures that internationalize early on in their development are not “born” global, but rather “grown” global.

Summing up, addressing the issue of internationalization from the perspective of multiple actors (VC firms, startups, entrepreneurs), this dissertation provides a holistic view on the internationalization of VC and VC-backed firms. By that it strives to add new insights to the international entrepreneurship field. Besides its academic contribution, the present research is also useful for practitioners and policy-makers.