Friend or Foe? - A case study of venture capitalists' non-financial contributions to new ventures in the cleantech industry
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New ventures within the cleantech industry have been recognized as an important driving force to solve the environmental problems facing the global society today. To succeed, these ventures are not only likely to depend on the equity of VC firms, but also their non-financial contributions. By conducting a literature review on the topic we found two gaps that needs to be addressed: First, there is a lack of literature regarding the non-financial contributions made by VCs in the cleantech industry specifically. Secondly, studies from the perspective of the entrepreneurs in the cleantech industry are missing as existing literature concentrate solely on the viewpoint of the VCs. Thereby, this thesis seeks to explore the topic of how VC firms provide non-financial contributions to new technology-based ventures in the cleantech industry, and how they are perceived by the entrepreneur. We have conducted a qualitative study of six new cleantech ventures in Norway. Empirical data has been collected by conducting semi-structured interviews with the case ventures founders. Further, we have developed a conceptual model based on the theory of organizational sponsorship to categorize and analyse the empirical data. Our findings indicate that there exists significant differences in the VC s ability to provide three different forms of services, namely networking, field building and direct support services. The VC firms were found to be especially likely to engage in networking- and direct support services such as mentoring and provision of additional funding, however they were generally incapable of providing field building efforts to the cleantech ventures. Furthermore, we found that the VC s motives for investing, their partially naive investment timeline, as well as their apparent lacking industry experience does not align with the cleantech industry and decreases how valuable the contributions are perceived to be by the entrepreneurs. Moreover, the nascency and the low density of the cleantech industry constrains the VC s role as a sponsor, as these factors were found to influence the effect of the contributions made by the VCs.