Not too long ago, when dot-com fever was at its peak, observers of the business world oohed and aahed over venture capital transactions involving millions of dollars. From researcher Benjamin Esty’s perspective, however, these deals seemed like small change. His research, after all, focuses on projects much bigger than the latest e-commerce enterprise. “Most of the projects are start-ups, yet they cost something on the order of $5 billion, not $5 million.” And all too often, he adds, they turn out to be losing propositions. Given the level of uncertainty involved with these projects, they require years of negotiation and careful allocation of risk. “Identifying key risks, deciding who should bear them, and ensuring that there is an incentive to manage these risks efficiently is the key to success,” Esty notes.