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The impact of digital start-up founders’ higher education on reaching equity investment milestones

Author

Listed:
  • Daniel Ratzinger

    (University of Nottingham)

  • Kevin Amess

    (University of Nottingham)

  • Andrew Greenman

    (University of Nottingham)

  • Simon Mosey

    (University of Nottingham)

Abstract

This paper builds on human capital theory to assess the importance of formal education among graduate entrepreneurs. Using a sample of 4953 digital start-ups the paper evaluates the impact of start-up founding teams’ higher education on the probability of securing equity investment and subsequent exit for investors. The main findings are: (1), teams with a founder that has a technical education are less likely to remain self-financed and are more likely to secure equity investment and to exit, but the impact of technical education declines with higher level degrees, (2) teams with a founder that has doctoral level business education are less likely to remain self-financed and have a higher probability of securing equity investment, while undergraduate and postgraduate business education have no significant effect, and (3) teams with a founder that has an undergraduate general education (arts and humanities) are less likely to remain self-financed and are more likely to secure equity investment and exit while postgraduate and doctoral general education have no significant effect on securing equity investment and exit. The findings enhance our understanding of factors that influence digital start-ups achieving equity milestones by showing the heterogeneous influence of different types of higher education, and therefore human capital, on new ventures achieving equity milestones. The results suggest that researchers and policy-makers should extend their consideration of universities entrepreneurial activity to include the development of human capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Ratzinger & Kevin Amess & Andrew Greenman & Simon Mosey, 2018. "The impact of digital start-up founders’ higher education on reaching equity investment milestones," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 760-778, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jtecht:v:43:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10961-017-9627-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s10961-017-9627-3
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    Cited by:

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    2. Klus, Milan Frederik, 2020. "From signalling to endorsement: The valorisation of fledgling digital ventures [Vom Signalisieren zur Unterstützung: Die Aufwertung junger digitaler Unternehmen]," Discussion Papers of the Institute for Organisational Economics 3/2020, University of Münster, Institute for Organisational Economics.
    3. Carolin Bock & Christian Hackober, 2020. "Unicorns—what drives multibillion-dollar valuations?," Business Research, Springer;German Academic Association for Business Research, vol. 13(3), pages 949-984, November.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    University qualifications; Human capital; Equity investments; Digital economy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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