What are Firms? Evolution from Early Business Plans to Public Companies
Steven N. Kaplan
University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Berk A. Sensoy
Ohio State University - Fisher College of Business
Swedish House of Finance
We study how firm characteristics evolve from early business plan to initial public offering (IPO) to public company for 50 venture capital (VC) financed companies. We describe the financial performance, line of business, point(s) of differentiation, non-human capital assets, growth strategy, top management, and ownership structure. The most striking finding is that firm business lines or ideas remain remarkably stable from business plan through public company. Within those business lines, non-human capital aspects of the businesses are more stable than human capital aspects. In the cross-section, firms with more alienable assets experience more managerial turnover suggesting that specific people becomes less critical as firms establish non-human assets. We obtain qualitatively similar results to those in our primary sample for all non-financial start-up IPOs in 2004 - both VC- and non-VC backed. This suggests that our main results are not specific to the presence of a VC or to the time period. We discuss how our results relate to theories of the firm and to VC investment decisions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 53
Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, Theory of the firm
JEL Classification: M13, G24, D23, L20
Date posted: April 14, 2006
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