Founder Inventors and their Investors: Implications for Firm Survival and Growth

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The Centre for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Studies (CEES) invites you to a forthcoming seminar by Professor Elisabeth Muller:

Founder Inventors and their Investors: Implications for Firm Survival and Growth

Date: Tuesday 26th April 2016
Time: 4.15pm – 5.45pm
Location: Room 1.44, Maurice Keyworth

Abstract: Many new firms are created by founders who possess sophisticated technical skills. As a firm progresses along its life cycle, the founders’ responsibilities may change and their focus may shift. Adopting a competence-based perspective, we contend that the involvement of founders in research and development provides a unique technical competence that is idiosyncratic to a firm and critical for the firm’s performance. We further propose that this relationship is investor-specific. To test our hypotheses, we used panel data drawn from 1,467 firms. We found that founder involvement in R&D increases survival rates and that the impact of founder involvement on growth is positive and contingent on the type of investor. More specifically, venture capitalists are particularly adept at leveraging the founders’ engagement in inventive activity, which increases a firm’s success. Furthermore, firms that are financed by venture capitalists tend to expand their top management team, which further supports the positive effect that founder involvement in R&D has on firm growth. This moderating effect is much lower in magnitude among firms financed by other types of equity investors.

Biography: Elisabeth Muller is Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Firms at the German Graduate School of Management and Law, Heilbronn, Germany.

All are welcome. If you would like to attend, please contact me, Emily Carlill, at (