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The venture capital contract and the Institutional Theory in a Spanish setting

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Purpose: This paper examines the principles of the Institutional Theory in order to increase the understanding of the contractual covenants that Spanish venture capital firms use in their relationship with the portfolio companies. Design/methodology/approach: The study is based on the data obtained by means of a postal survey addressed to the 70 Spanish venture capital firms registered in the ASCRI (Asociación Española de Entidades de Capital Riesgo) in June, 2002, with a response rate of 68.33%. As a theoretical framework we base on the Institutional Theory as a mechanism to understand the venture capital contractual process. Findings: The results show that a large part of the Spanish venture capital contracts are homogeneous. However, between public and private venture capital firms there is some heterogeneity not only in relation to the industry but also within the field in the design of contracts. It might be due to the coercive pressures exerted by the government on public entities. Research Limitations: Although survey data might create potential biases and possible measurement problems, we consider that our sample has large enough coverage of the venture capital industry (68.33%) that, although cautiously, valid conclusions can be drawn. Originality/value: To the best of our knowledge, this study is one of the first empirical contributions analyzing financial contracts of venture capital firms in Spain. A better understanding of covenants included in venture capital contracts can help Spanish firms to understand the particular terms and restraints of venture capitalists before providing capital. Moreover, this paper also has clear benefits for policy makers and venture capitalists.



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