Essays on interorganizational relationships between entrepreneurial ventures and industry incumbents
In this dissertation, I investigate how entrepreneurial ventures and industry incumbents enter into interorganizational relationships in the context of corporate venture capital (CVC) investments. In Essay 1, drawing from the literature on employee mobility and entrepreneurship, I investigate how the competitive tension between spinouts and their parent firms with regard to potential knowledge diffusion influences other industry incumbents’ decisions to invest in spinouts. Specifically, I suggest that a high level of technological overlap between a spinout and its parent firm deters other industry incumbents from investing in the spinout due to anticipated hostile actions by the parent firm. Moreover, such negative effects can be amplified when the parent firm has a strong litigiousness to claim its intellectual property rights. I also consider that the negative effects can be mitigated when industry incumbents expect to benefit from gaining indirect access to parent firms’ technological knowledge through investing in spinouts.
In Essay 2, I focus on academic hybrid entrepreneurs—defined as individuals who found their own ventures while working at academic institutions (e.g., professors, scientists)—and investigate how their intended exit strategy influences their decisions regarding CVC financing. Specifically, I first propose that academic hybrid entrepreneurs may have strong preferences for acquisitions over initial public offerings as an exit strategy for their ventures because of the high level of opportunity/switching costs associated with transitioning between their academic roles and entrepreneurial activities. Drawing from the literature on mergers and acquisitions, I then suggest that compared to other ventures, those founded by academic hybrid entrepreneurs are more likely to receive funding from CVC investors to effectively disclose the quality of their resources and knowledge to potential acquirers.
In Essay 3, I examine how the industry incumbents’ relative positions in technology domains vis-à-vis other firms influence their CVC investment activities. Drawing upon the literature on factor market, I conceptualize CVC investments as external knowledge acquisition activities in knowledge factor markets consisting of several different technology domains. Building on this conceptualization, I emphasize that industry incumbents’ choices of investment areas are dependent on their positions vis-à-vis their rival investors in a given technology domain. This is because a firm’s technology position in a given domain can simultaneously influence the opportunities and incentives that jointly determine the likelihood of CVC investments in the domain. The theoretical arguments and empirical results suggest that firms with intermediate technology positions (i.e., technology intermediates) with moderate levels of opportunities and incentives are more likely to make CVC investments than are technology laggards and leaders with the lowest levels of opportunities and incentives, respectively.