Small Business Economics

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 607–633 | Cite as

The different roles played by venture capital and private equity investors on the investment activity of their portfolio firms

  • Fabio Bertoni
  • María Alejandra Ferrer
  • José Martí


Venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) investors play different roles in their portfolio companies. We argue that this will translate in a recognizable difference in the investment sensitivity to cash flows of portfolio companies and its evolution after the first investment round. We hypothesise that VC, thanks to its ability in overcoming asymmetries in information, will entail a reduction in the financial constraints which hampered the growth of investee firms. We predict, instead, a greater dependency of investments to cash flow for PE-backed companies, driven by the renewed interest for growth of their management combined with higher leverage. We find evidence confirming our hypotheses on a large panel of Spanish unlisted firms in low and medium technology sectors, where both VC and PE firms are active.


Venture capital Private equity Buyouts Investment sensitivity to cash flow 

JEL Classifications

G32 G24 L26 



This paper is part of the output of the EU VII Framework Programme ‘Financing Entrepreneurial Ventures in Europe: Impact on innovation, employment growth, and competitiveness—VICO’ (Contract 217485). We thank Álvaro Tresierra Tanaka (Universidad de Piura) for his help in processing data. We wish to express our gratitude for the comments from the discussant and other participants in the Workshop ‘Reassessing the Relationships between Private Equity Investors and Their Portfolio Companies’, Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School, Gent (Belgium), September 30–October 1, 2010. We also thank the valuable comments and suggestions from two anonymous referees.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabio Bertoni
    • 1
  • María Alejandra Ferrer
    • 2
  • José Martí
    • 3
  1. 1.DIG Dipartimento di Ingeneria GestionalePolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Facultad de CC. Económicas y Sociales, Núcleo Humanístico, Ciudad UniversitariaUniversidad del ZuliaMaracaiboVenezuela
  3. 3.Departamento de Ec. Financiera y Contabilidad III, Facultad de CC. EE. y EEUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain

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