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Valuing the Early-Stage Company
Chaplinsky, Susan; Reed, Brendan Technical Note F-1471 / Published June 8, 2005 / 15 pages.
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Product Overview

This note covers several frequently used methods to value early-stage companies and discusses some of the issues and difficulties encountered more generally in valuing privately held assets. The basic assumptions underlying the venture capital and the discounted cash flow methods of valuation are discussed in detail. In addition, the note attempts to provide some direction in making the appropriate tradeoffs between the guidance provided by financial theory and the practical limitations posed by an illiquid asset class. A numerical example is given to highlight the key differences between the techniques.


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  • Overview

    This note covers several frequently used methods to value early-stage companies and discusses some of the issues and difficulties encountered more generally in valuing privately held assets. The basic assumptions underlying the venture capital and the discounted cash flow methods of valuation are discussed in detail. In addition, the note attempts to provide some direction in making the appropriate tradeoffs between the guidance provided by financial theory and the practical limitations posed by an illiquid asset class. A numerical example is given to highlight the key differences between the techniques.

  • Learning Objectives