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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven N. Kaplan & Berk A. Sensoy & Per Strömberg, 2005. "What Are Firms? Evolution from Birth to Public Companies," NBER Working Papers 11581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11581
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ulf Axelson & Per Strömberg & Michael S. Weisbach, 2009. "Why Are Buyouts Levered? The Financial Structure of Private Equity Funds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(4), pages 1549-1582, August.
    2. 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 38, Institute for Financial Research.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. van Hemert, Otto, 2006. "Life-Cycle Housing and Portfolio Choice with Bond Markets," SIFR Research Report Series 44, Institute for Financial Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance

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