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Imagining (The Future) Business: How to Make Firms with Plans?

Abstract : Entrepreneurial fi nance is a market for virtualities. Investors, be they venture capitalists, business angels, or any other kind of fi nancial institutions investing in new or rapidly developing ventures, spend their money on companies whose existence and profi tability have yet to become empirically observable. The valuation of new ventures raises some classical problems. Moral hazard is of course the fi rst one of these.1 For strategic reasons, or just out of forgetfulness, the entrepreneur may keep from disclosing part of the information she has to the people from whom she expects to raise capital. Another classical evaluation problem is that new companies are complex “nexuses of contracts,” (Williamson, 1986) mixing heterogeneous elements that can very hardly be evaluated according to a simple grid of criteria. Financial statements can of course provide useful information about the initial assets, liabilities, and expenses of the business, but they do not say much about the singular articulation of these elements in the business, about their actual use inside the new organization, about the evolutions presently happening in the markets the company aims to conquer, etc. In short, the assessment of a singular business “combination,” as Schumpeter would have put it (Schumpeter, 1911), happens to be a hard task because of the diffi culty to evaluate the quality of some elements of the business as well as of their mixture. But entrepreneurial fi nance is not just any market-with its moral hazard issues-nor is it just a market for qualities or singularities (Karpik, 1989, 1996, 2010; Musselin and Paradeise, 2002). The uncertainties market actors are confronted with on this market may be uncertainties about full disclosure of information or about the qualities of the new venture, but they are also and most importantly uncertainties about the future. Investors and entrepreneurs meet around strange products that are in a sort of existential twilight zone: they do exist, as projects, but they do not exist yet as operating enterprises. As businesses, they are still virtual. How can such an uncertainty-laden market actually function? (résumé éditeur)
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Martin Giraudeau. Imagining (The Future) Business: How to Make Firms with Plans?. Paolo Quattrone; Francois-Regis Puyou. Imagining Organizations, Routledge, pp.213 - 229, 2011, 9780203807903. ⟨hal-03397537⟩

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