New venture financing order and founder preference: A multi-case study of Austrian Tech startups
Abstract: This study investigates the source of financing in Austrian tech startups and aims to identify the main factors that affect the decision making of these firms. In doing so, we aim to contribute to the relatively limited field of research conducted in Europe. In order to achieve the purpose of this study, we implemented a multiple case study method as the research design. For the purpose of this study, a literature review was used that generated a theoretical framework. This framework focuses on capital structure with the main emphasis being on the pecking order theory. Additionally, government financial support is included as a secondary priority. Together with the theoretical framework, our empirical findings i.e. data from the interviews with six companies, one email response, and two additional secondary data from an Austrian startup publication comprised the basis for our analysis. Our findings from the sample companies used in this study show that Austrian tech startups use internal funding as an initial source of financing their new venture. When it comes to the order of funding, our findings show that most of the startups used in this study utilized equity as a second source of financing after internal funding and before debt. However, when it comes to the preference of the founders, half preferred a financing order that is inline with the pecking order theory while the remaining half preferred otherwise choosing equity to debt. From this, three conclusions can be drawn. First, the limited funding options available affect the decision making and preference of the tech startups. Second, founders value the nonfinancial added value they can get from investors both when implementing and preferring a financing option. Third, the future growth potential and the long term strategy of the startups and their founders play a crucial role in the funding option they prefer to finance their venture. Additionally, when it comes to capital structure, we see that most Austrian tech startups used in this study do not have a set policy. When it comes to Government financial support (GFS), we see that financial support from the government plays a significant role in Austrian tech startup financing.
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