Agency theory remains the dominant means of examining governance issues and ownership characteristics related to large organizations. Research in these areas within large organizations has increased our understanding, yet little is known about the influence that these mechanisms and characteristics have had on IPO firm performance. This study tests an agency perspective that venture capital involvement, governance and equity characteristics affect health care and biotechnology IPO firm performance. Our results indicate that there is no correlation between these factors and health care and biotechnology IPO wealth creation. For these entrepreneurs, our findings suggest a contingent approach for the use of these mechanisms. © 2006 Aspen Publishers, Inc.