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Computational analytics for venture finance

Stone, TR; (2014) Computational analytics for venture finance. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the application of computational analytics to the domain of venture finance – the deployment of capital to high-risk ventures in pursuit of maximising financial return. Traditional venture finance is laborious and highly inefficient. Whilst high street banks approve (or reject) personal loans in a matter of minutes It takes an early-stage venture capital (VC) firm months to put a term sheet in front of a fledgling new venture. Whilst these are fundamentally different forms of finance (longer return period, larger investments, different risk profiles) a more data-informed and analytical approach to venture finance is foreseeable. We have surveyed existing software tools in relation to the venture capital investment process and stage of investment. We find that analytical tools are nascent and use of analytics in industry is limited. To date only a small handful of venture capital firms have publicly declared their use of computational analytical methods in their decision making and investment selection process. This research has been undertaken with several industry partners including venture capital firms, seed accelerators, universities and other related organisations. Within our research we have developed a prototype software tool NVANA: New Venture Analytics – for assessing new ventures and screening prospective deal flow. Over £20,000 in early-stage funding was distributed with hundreds of new ventures assessed using the system. Both the limitations of our prototype and extensions are discussed. We have focused on computational analytics in the context of three sub-components of the NVANA system. Firstly, improving the classification of private companies using supervised and multi-label classification techniques to develop a novel form of industry classification. Secondly, we have investigated the potential to benchmark private company performance based upon a company's ``digital footprint''. Finally, the novel application of collaborative filtering and content-based recommendation techniques to the domain of venture finance. We conclude by discussing the future potential for computational analytics to increase efficiency and performance within the venture finance domain. We believe there is clear scope for assisting the venture capital investment process. However, we have identified limitations and challenges in terms of access to data, stage of investment and adoption by industry.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Computational analytics for venture finance
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Venture finance, Venture capital, Computational analytics, Business analytics, Recommender systems, Industry classification
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > UCL School of Management
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1453383
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