Portfolio size and information disclosure: An analysis of startup accelerators

Abstract

We study the information-gathering role of a startup accelerator and consider the accelerator's incentives to choose a portfolio size and disclose information about participating ventures. We show that in a rational-expectations equilibrium, the resultant portfolio size is smaller than the first-best (efficient) level, consistent with some real-world observations. We further show that when some signals are uninformative and the portfolio consists of mostly high-quality ventures, the accelerator may choose to disclose only positive signals (and conceal negative signals) about its portfolio firms — a strategy we refer to as partial disclosure. Moreover, coupled with pursuing this strategy of partial disclosure, we demonstrate that the accelerator may possess incentives to exit its portfolio firms early.

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