The impact of digital start-up founders’ higher education on reaching equity investment milestones

Daniel Ratzinger, Kevin Amess, Andrew Greenman, Simon Mosey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper builds on human capital theory to assess the importance of formal education among graduate entrepreneurs. Using a sample of 4953 digital start-ups the paper evaluates the impact of start-up founding teams’ higher education on the probability of securing equity investment and subsequent exit for investors. The main findings are: (1), teams with a founder that has a technical education are less likely to remain self-financed and are more likely to secure equity investment and to exit, but the impact of technical education declines with higher level degrees, (2) teams with a founder that has doctoral level business education are less likely to remain self-financed and have a higher probability of securing equity investment, while undergraduate and postgraduate business education have no significant effect, and (3) teams with a founder that has an undergraduate general education (arts and humanities) are less likely to remain self-financed and are more likely to secure equity investment and exit while postgraduate and doctoral general education have no significant effect on securing equity investment and exit. The findings enhance our understanding of factors that influence digital start-ups achieving equity milestones by showing the heterogeneous influence of different types of higher education, and therefore human capital, on new ventures achieving equity milestones. The results suggest that researchers and policy-makers should extend their consideration of universities entrepreneurial activity to include the development of human capital.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)760-778
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Technology Transfer
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018

Keywords

  • Digital economy
  • Equity investments
  • Human capital
  • University qualifications

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