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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. Philippe Aghion & Mathias Dewatripont & Jeremy C. Stein, 2005. "Academic Freedom, Private-Sector Focus, and the Process of Innovation," NBER Working Papers 11542, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 2001. "The Influence of the Financial Revolution on the Nature of Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 2782, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Gibbons, Robert, 2005. "Four forma(lizable) theories of the firm?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 200-245, October.
  6. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1998. "Power In A Theory Of The Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 387-432, May.
  7. Thomas Hellmann & Manju Puri, 2002. "Venture Capital and the Professionalization of Start-Up Firms: Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 169-197, 02.
  8. Marianne Bertrand & Antoinette Schoar, 2003. "Managing With Style: The Effect Of Managers On Firm Policies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1169-1208, November.
  9. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 2000. "The Firm as a Dedicated Hierarchy: A Theory of the Origin and Growth of Firms," NBER Working Papers 7546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Sahlman, William A., 1990. "The structure and governance of venture-capital organizations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 473-521, October.
  11. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1999. "The Firm as a Subeconomy," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 74-102, April.
  12. Steven N. Kaplan & Per Strömberg, 2000. "Financial Contracting Theory Meets the Real World: An Empirical Analysis of Venture Capital Contracts," CRSP working papers 513, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  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. 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.
  15. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Akram, Qaisar Farooq & Rime, Dagfinn & Sarno, Lucio, 2008. "Arbitrage in the Foreign Exchange Market: Turning on the Microscope," CEPR Discussion Papers 6878, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Axelson, Ulf & Stromberg, Per & Weisbach, Michael S., 2008. "Why Are Buyouts Levered? The Financial Structure of Private Equity Funds," Working Paper Series 2008-15, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  3. Bjönnes, Geir H. & Holden, Steinar & Rime, Dagfinn & Solheim, Haakon O.Aa., 2005. "'Large' vs. 'Small' Players: A Closer Look at the Dynamics of Speculative Attacks," SIFR Research Report Series, Institute for Financial Research 38, Institute for Financial Research.
  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. van Hemert, Otto, 2006. "Life-Cycle Housing and Portfolio Choice with Bond Markets," SIFR Research Report Series, Institute for Financial Research 44, Institute for Financial Research.

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