Sole Survivors: Solo Ventures Versus Founding Teams

22 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2018

See all articles by Jason Greenberg

Jason Greenberg

University of Pennsylvania

Ethan R. Mollick

University of Pennsylvania - Wharton School

Date Written: January 23, 2018


A widespread scholarly and popular consensus suggests that new ventures perform better when launched by teams, rather than individuals. This view has become so pervasive that many of the foremost investors rarely, if ever, fund startups founded by a solo entrepreneur. Despite this belief in the superiority of teams in the startup process, little empirical evidence has been used to examine this key question. In this paper, we examine the implications of founding alone versus as a group by using a unique dataset of crowdfunded companies that together generated approximately $358 million in total revenue. We show that companies started by solo founders survive longer than those started by teams. Further, organizations started by solo founders generate more revenue than organizations started by founder pairs, and do not perform significantly different than larger teams. This suggests that the taken-for-granted assumption among scholars that entrepreneurship is best performed by teams should be reevaluated, with implications for theories of team performance and entrepreneurial strategy.

Keywords: crowdfunding, entrepreneurship, founders, teams, startups

Suggested Citation

Greenberg, Jason and Mollick, Ethan R., Sole Survivors: Solo Ventures Versus Founding Teams (January 23, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Jason Greenberg (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Pennsylvania, PA
United States


Ethan R. Mollick

University of Pennsylvania - Wharton School ( email )

The Wharton School
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370
United States

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