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Skill vs. Luck in Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital: Evidence from Serial Entrepreneurs

Author

Listed:
  • Paul Gompers
  • Anna Kovner
  • Josh Lerner
  • David Scharfstein

Abstract

This paper argues that a large component of success in entrepreneurship and venture capital can be attributed to skill. We show that entrepreneurs with a track record of success are more likely to succeed than first time entrepreneurs and those who have previously failed. Funding by more experienced venture capital firms enhances the chance of success, but only for entrepreneurs without a successful track record. Similarly, more experienced venture capitalists are able to identify and invest in first time entrepreneurs who are more likely to become serial entrepreneurs. Investments by venture capitalists in successful serial entrepreneurs generate higher returns for their venture capital investors. This finding provides further support for the role of skill in both entrepreneurship and venture capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Gompers & Anna Kovner & Josh Lerner & David Scharfstein, 2006. "Skill vs. Luck in Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital: Evidence from Serial Entrepreneurs," NBER Working Papers 12592, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12592
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w12592.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Paul Gompers & Anna Kovner & Josh Lerner, 2009. "Specialization and Success: Evidence from Venture Capital," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(3), pages 817-844, September.
    2. Paul Gompers & Josh Lerner, 2006. "The Venture Capital Cycle, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262572389, January.
    3. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1979. "A General Equilibrium Entrepreneurial Theory of Firm Formation Based on Risk Aversion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 719-748, August.
    4. David H. Hsu, 2004. "What Do Entrepreneurs Pay for Venture Capital Affiliation?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1805-1844, August.
    5. Carroll, Glenn R. & Mosakowski, Elaine M., 1987. "The Career Dynamics of Self-Employment," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt13p1n10b, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    6. Steven Kaplan & Antoinette Schoar, 2003. "Private Equity Performance: Returns, Persistence and Capital," NBER Working Papers 9807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Das, Sanjiv R. & Jo, Hoje & Kim, Yongtae, 2011. "Polishing diamonds in the rough: The sources of syndicated venture performance," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 199-230, April.
    2. Francesco Quatraro & Marco Vivarelli, 2015. "Drivers of Entrepreneurship and Post-entry Performance of Newborn Firms in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 30(2), pages 277-305.
    3. Dew, Nicholas & Read, Stuart & Sarasvathy, Saras D. & Wiltbank, Robert, 2009. "Effectual versus predictive logics in entrepreneurial decision-making: Differences between experts and novices," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 287-309, July.
    4. Junfu Zhang, 2011. "The advantage of experienced start-up founders in venture capital acquisition: evidence from serial entrepreneurs," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 187-208, February.
    5. Toft-Kehler, Rasmus & Wennberg, Karl & Kim, Phillip H., 2014. "Practice makes perfect: Entrepreneurial-experience curves and venture performance," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 453-470.
    6. Hanaki, Nobuyuki & Kirman, Alan & Marsili, Matteo, 2011. "Born under a lucky star?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 382-392, March.
    7. Marco Vivarelli, 2012. "Entrepreneurship and Post-Entry Performance: the Microeconomic Evidence," DISCE - Quaderni del Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali dises1286, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    8. Pontus Braunerhjelm & Simon Parker, 2010. "Josh Lerner: recipient of the 2010 Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 245-254, October.
    9. Marco Vivarelli, 2013. "Is entrepreneurship necessarily good? Microeconomic evidence from developed and developing countries," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(6), pages 1453-1495, December.
    10. Vivarelli, Marco, 2012. "Drivers of entrepreneurship and post-entry performance : microeconomic evidence from advanced and developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6245, The World Bank.
    11. Vivarelli, Marco, 2012. "Entrepreneurship in Advanced and Developing Countries: A Microeconomic Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 6513, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Quatraro, Francesco & Vivarelli, Marco, 2013. "Entrepreneurship In A Developing Country Context," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201314, University of Turin.
    13. Michael D. McKenzie & William H. Janeway, 2011. "Venture capital funds and the public equity market," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 51(3), pages 764-786, September.
    14. repec:eee:quaeco:v:66:y:2017:i:c:p:70-99 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Steven N. Kaplan & Mark M. Klebanov & Morten Sorensen, 2008. "Which CEO Characteristics and Abilities Matter?," NBER Working Papers 14195, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Jeffrey Overall & Sean Wise, 2016. "The Antecedents of Entrepreneurial Success: A Mixed Methods Approach," Journal of Enterprising Culture (JEC), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 24(03), pages 209-241, September.
    17. Francesco Quatraro & Marco Vivarelli, 2013. "Entry and Post-Entry Dynamics in Developing Countries," GREDEG Working Papers 2013-20, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

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