A key requirement for the start of many entrepreneurial business is private equity or venture capital financing. In the traditional approach to entrepreneurial investment analysis, an entrepreneur starts a new venture and a venture capitalist finances the new venture when business return exceeds the financial opportunity cost for comparable risk - the cost of capital for the new venture. The real options literature recommends that entrepreneurs delay business start due to investment irreversibility until business return reaches a threshold greater than the cost of capital. In this paper, we show that for new ventures with modest earnings volatility, an entrepreneur starts his/her business before return exceeds the cost of capital. We identify the circumstances in which the cost of capital is an unduly conservative return benchmark for the start of a new business and discuss the empirical implications of our findings.

JEL Codes

G31, M13


New ventures, business start, corporate investment, entrepreneurship