VENTURE CAPITAL INVESTMENTS AND FINANCING IN ESTONIA: A CASE STUDY APPROACH
The aim of the article is to describe how Estonian venture capitalists make financing and investment decisions, and compare these results with theoretical recommendations found in corporate finance and venture capital literature. The focus is on the methodological procedures in venture capital investment and financing. A case study approach is used to collect information about the current practice of venture capital investments and financing in Estonia. Five of the largest Estonian venture capital funds were analyzed in this article, and different problems have been presented in the article. Some of them require an academic and some a practical solution. The problems are divided into four parts: venture capital deal structuring, corporate governance and investor protection, the cost of venture capital and valuation. Venture capital deal structuring is discussed first, and we look at of the following topics: syndication, staged investment, use of financial instruments, ownership share and dilution problems. Syndication of investments, staged investments and convertible financial instruments are used quite rarely by Estonian venture capitalists. Most Estonian venture capitalists take a minority holding in their portfolio companies and the ownership share changes mainly due to the use of convertible instruments and financial options. Estonian venture capitalists do not consider this kind of dilution a big problem. Most Estonian venture capitalists do not have a measure of the required rate of return as considered in financial theory. The determination of the rate of return among Estonian venture capitalists is more intuitive: they use an internal rate of return instead. The required rates of return used by Estonian venture capitalists have about the same interval as in the rest of the world. Corporate control and investor protection are important issues in the venture capital process. These are closely linked to deal structuring. The Estonian Commercial code has average investor protection, but it restricts the use of preferred shares, which are often used in venture capital deal structuring abroad. Some corporate control problems have arisen at the board level in Estonia. Although venture capitalists do not use complicated models to find the cost of capital, they pay much more attention to complicated valuation models. Multiples, book value, and DCF methods are used. Numerical analysis is not as important as the authors expected. Much attention is paid to the linkages between these themes.
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