Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy in Business Data Science - (Ph.D.)
The first essay of this dissertation focuses on the entrepreneurship survival in the early stage, during which time an entrepreneur plays the game at the "edge of chaos" and improvises in real-time to learn the strategic playing field. It examines the social networks of entrepreneurs and the impact on new venture survival. Specifically, it explores how the entrepreneurs' social connections with other entrepreneurs and their types of employment differentially affect survival during the different stages of the entrepreneurial journey in the United States and India. Using the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) dataset, this study documents not only how the social connections differentially impact survival in the U.S. and India during the early and later stages, but also the differences between the importance of full-time and hybrid entrepreneurship across regions. It thus sheds light on the challenges faced by early-stage entrepreneurship in both developed and developing economies, as well as the effect of these differences on venture survival. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
The second essay looks at growth of entrepreneurial ventures. Despite prior entrepreneurship research highlighting the role of access to resources, the experience of founders, and new ventures' innovation in a startup's growth, researchers are yet to explore how some startups achieve unicorn status, i.e., get to a one-billion dollar in valuation. This study examines how the founders' prior entrepreneurial experience, the venture's intellectual property (IP), and access to corporate venture capital (CVC) influence a startup's likelihood of becoming a unicorn venture. It is found that IP partially mediates the relationship between the founders' prior entrepreneurial experience and the likelihood of becoming a unicorn venture and that the presence of CVC investors negatively moderates the effect of founders' prior entrepreneurial experience on the venture's IP. Surprisingly, the results suggest that that the presence of CVC does not impact the relationship between founders' prior entrepreneurial experience and the likelihood of becoming a unicorn venture. Implications for the theory and practice of entrepreneurship are discussed.
The third essay investigates how a unicorn venture's strategic decisions regarding diversification and acquisition affect its likelihood of an IPO and how these relationships can vary depending on firm age. Using data on unicorn ventures founded in the United States between 1983 and 2021, this study finds that a unicorn venture's likelihood of an IPO has an inverted-U relationship with its age. It is also revealed that younger unicorn ventures are more likely to go public with less diversification and more acquisitions, whereas older unicorn ventures are more likely to go public with greater diversification and fewer acquisitions. The findings suggest that unicorn ventures have a window of opportunity to go public. This work contributes to both entrepreneurship literature and population ecology research by bringing the two literature together to explore how firm age and ventures' strategic decisions influence the IPO exit of a unicorn venture.
Zhang, Xi, "Entrepreneurship and heterogeneity among firms' strategies: Three essays" (2022). Dissertations. 1614.