Exploring Best Practice Skills to Predict Uncertainties in Venture Capital Investment Decision-Making

Date of Conferral


Date of Award

January 2013


Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)


Business Administration


Ghormley, Yvette


Algae biodiesel is the sole sustainable and abundant transportation fuel source that can replace petrol diesel use; however, high competition and economic uncertainties exist, influencing independent venture capital decision making. Technology, market, management, and government action uncertainties influence competition and economic uncertainties in the venture capital industry. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to identify the best practice skills at IVC firms to predict uncertainty between early and late funding stages. The basis of the study was real options theory, a framework used to evaluate and understand the economic and competition uncertainties inherent in natural resource investment and energy derived from plant-based oils. Data were collected from interviews of 24 venture capital partners based in the United States who invest in algae and other renewable energy solutions. Data were analyzed by coding and theme development interwoven with the conceptual framework. Eight themes emerged: (a) expected returns model, (b) due diligence, (c) invest in specific sectors, (d) reduced uncertainty-late stage, (e) coopetition, (f) portfolio firm relationships, (g) differentiation strategy, and (h) modeling uncertainty and best practice. The most noteworthy finding was that predicting uncertainty at the early stage was impractical; at the expansion and late funding stages, however, predicting uncertainty was possible. The implications of these findings will affect social change by providing independent venture capitalists with best practice skills to increase successful exits, lessen uncertainty, and encourage increased funding of renewable energy firms, contributing to cleaner and healthier communities throughout the United States.

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