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Investments and Innovation: Regional Venture Capital Activity, Business Innovation and an Ecology of Interactions (Volume 1)

Investments and Innovation: Regional Venture Capital Activity, Business Innovation and an Ecology of Interactions (Volume 1)

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This book adds to the growing literature from recent years on innovation finance, innovation systems, and regional economic and innovation policy. Although the role of business has been seen as critical within the regional innovation system, the role of business financing intermediaries has received considerably less attention despite its recognised role as a central actor of the system. This research focuses on an innovation player that seems to have been neglected by scholars to date, namely the venture capital industry. The research examines the role of different types of venture capital, public and private, in fostering innovation at the regional level. In examining this relationship, this book empirically analyses the characteristics of 4117 investments deals made to 2359 companies, the innovation outputs of these businesses and the responses to a survey of 50 venture capital professionals. The contribution of this book is threefold: First, this book examines the combination of venture capital in the UK regions by providing a detailed analysis of the extent of venture capital public dependency in each UK region. It also elaborates on the potential implications of the public sectorsa??s domination in venture capital provision in several UK regions. From a regional perspective, the UK now appears to have two venture capital markets. In London, the South East and, to a lesser extent, the East of England, private sector investors dominate investment activity. This contrasts with the remainder of the UK where the venture capital market is underpinned by extensive public sector involvement. Second, this book also investigates the role of venture capital in innovation using patents as a proxy variable for business innovation. The analysis shows a clear relationship between venture capital and patents. Companies with patents are more likely to secure follow up venture capital finance compared with companies without patents. The econometric analysis results also suggest that UK companies with moderate public venture capital support are positively associated with patents while companies with extensive public venture capital support are negatively associated with patents, compared to companies with solely private venture capital support The final part of the book investigates the ecology of interaction between venture capital and regional innovation systems. Three important findings emerge from this analysis. First, the more publicly dependent a fund is, the more it interacts with other players of the innovation system. Second, the role of proximity is still important within the VC industry. Venture capitalists from both the private and the public sector, are more likely to interact with their counterparts from the same region. Third, there is evidence to suggest that operators of publicly backed funds are lacking close connections with their counterparts from the private sectors. Overall, the findings of this research suggests that the distinction between the two venture capital markets in the UK, publicly or privately driven, is not limited to the volume or type of venture capital activity but also relates to the ecology of interactions between venture capitalists and other players of the regional innovation system. Since publicly backed funds do not promote innovation to the same extent that private funds do when they invest alone, UK regions that are heavily dependent on public investments may not be able to receive the benefits of a functional venture capital industry. However, regions in which public venture capital funds work closely with private funds, demonstrate a relatively higher volume of venture capital backed companies with the potential to innovate. From a policy perspective, this finding suggests that from an innovation point of view, free public standing investments should be minimised while co-investments between publicly backed and private venture capital funds should be further encouraged.