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What Are Firms? Evolution from Birth to Public Companies

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  • Steven N. Kaplan
  • Berk A. Sensoy
  • Per Strömberg

Abstract

We study how firm characteristics evolve from early business plan to initial public offering to public company for 49 venture capital financed companies. The average time elapsed is almost 6 years. We describe the financial performance, business idea, point(s) of differentiation, non-human capital assets, growth strategy, customers, competitors, alliances, top management, ownership structure, and the board of directors. Our analysis focuses on the nature and stability of those firm attributes. Firm business lines remain remarkably stable from business plan through public company. Within those business lines, non-human capital aspects of the businesses appear more stable than human capital aspects. In the cross-section, firms with more alienable assets have substantially more human capital turnover.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11581.

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Date of creation: Aug 2005
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11581

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  1. Hellmann, Thomas & Puri, Manju, 2000. "The Interaction between Product Market and Financing Strategy: The Role of Venture Capital," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(4), pages 959-84.
  2. Hellmann, Thomas F. & Puri, Manju, 2000. "Venture Capital and the Professionalization of Start-up Firms: Empirical Evidence," Research Papers 1661, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  3. Steven N. Kaplan & Per Str�mberg, 2003. "Financial Contracting Theory Meets the Real World: An Empirical Analysis of Venture Capital Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 281-315.
  4. Philippe Aghion & Mathias Dewatripont & Jeremy C. Stein, 2005. "Academic Freedom, Private-Sector Focus, and the Process of Innovation," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2089, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1997. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," NBER Working Papers 6274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Steven N. Kaplan & Per Stromberg, 2003. "Financial Contracting Theory Meets the Real World: An Empirical Analysis of Venture Capital Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 281-315, 04.
  7. Bertrand, Marianne & Schoar, Antoinette, 2003. "Managing With Style: The Effect of Managers on Firm Policies," Working papers 4280-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  8. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 2001. "The Firm As A Dedicated Hierarchy: A Theory Of The Origins And Growth Of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 805-851, August.
  9. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 2001. "The Influence of the Financial Revolution on the Nature of Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 206-211, May.
  10. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1992. "An Incomplete Contracts Approach to Financial Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(3), pages 473-94, July.
  11. Gibbons, Robert, 2005. "Four forma(lizable) theories of the firm?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 200-245, October.
  12. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  13. Bengt Holmstrom & John Roberts, 1998. "The Boundaries of the Firm Revisited," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 73-94, Fall.
  14. Sahlman, William A., 1990. "The structure and governance of venture-capital organizations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 473-521, October.
  15. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1999. "The Firm as a Subeconomy," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 74-102, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Akram, Q. Farooq & Rime, Dagfinn & Sarno, Lucio, 2008. "Arbitrage in the foreign exchange market: Turning on the microscope," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 237-253, December.
  2. Philippe Aghion & Mathias Dewatripont & Jeremy C. Stein, 2008. "Academic freedom, private-sector focus, and the process of innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(3), pages 617-635.
  3. van Hemert, Otto, 2006. "Life-Cycle Housing and Portfolio Choice with Bond Markets," SIFR Research Report Series 44, Institute for Financial Research.
  4. Geir H. Bjønnes & Steinar Holden & Dagfinn Rime & Haakon O.Aa. Solheim, 2005. "“Large” vs. “small” players: A closer look at the dynamics of speculative attacks," Working Paper 2005/13, Norges Bank.
  5. Axelson, Ulf & Strömberg, Per & Weisbach, Michael S., 2007. "Why are Buyouts Levered? The Financial Structure of Private Equity Funds," SIFR Research Report Series 49, Institute for Financial Research.
  6. Stein, Jeremy C. & Dewatripont, Mathias & Aghion, Philippe, 2008. "Academic Freedom, Private-Sector Focus, and the Process of Innovation," Scholarly Articles 3637074, Harvard University Department of Economics.

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