Commercializing Science: Evidence from Simultaneous Discoveries

Funded Research Proposal

This research project studies two related questions: (1) what shapes the decision to commercialize scientific discoveries, and (2) how does the commercialization strategy of high-technology startups relate to performance outcomes?Read More

Inequality Aversion When the Reward is Scarce: The Case of Salary vs. Equity Compensation

Working Papers

Do workers have different equality preferences depending on the type of payoff? In many firms, the distribution of equity compensation is more equal than the distribution of salary. We design an experimental group production game to examine how workers respond to combinations of different distributions of equity and salary.Read More

Predicting Startup Survival Using the Normalized Burn Rate

Working Papers

How much to spend is a key managerial decision for entrepreneurs. Arguments favoring lean startups rely on the burden of rapid growth, reduced monitoring costs or the ineffcient use of cash. Arguments favoring high “burn rates” rely on the early creation of economies of scale and complementary assets; and the motivation benefits of efficiency wages and experimentation.Read More

Social Is the New Financial: How Startup Social Media Activity Influences Funding Outcomes

Working Papers

In this project, we explore the impact of startup firms’ social media activities on their entrepreneurial financing performance. Social media can mitigate information problems in entrepreneurial financing in two ways.Read More

How a Startup’s ‘Burn Rate’ Influences Its Success

A critical factor that determines whether a startup succeeds or fails is its level of spending, or burn rate. Research from professors Ron Berman and Pablo Hernandez-Lagos examines how an entrepreneur’s education and experience levels can predict a startup’s burn rate, and thus its odds of success.Read More

Corporate VCs Yield Better Innovation Outcomes

Recent research by Senior Fellow Gary Dushnitsky measures the innovation success of new biotech ventures by tracking their patenting and publishing rates. He and coauthor Elisa Alvarez-Garrido find that the identity of the investor makes a big difference.Read More

Strategic switchbacks: Dynamic commercialization strategies for technology entrepreneurs

Published Research

We present a synthetic framework in which a technology entrepreneur employs a dynamic
commercialization strategy to overcome obstacles to the adoption of their ideal strategy. Whereas prior work portrays the choice of whether to license a new technology or to self-commercialize as a single, static decision, we suggest that when entrepreneurs encounter obstacles to their ideal strategy they can nevertheless achieve it by temporarily adopting a non-ideal strategy.Read More

R&D Production Team Composition and Firm-Level Innovation

Working Papers

How should a firm organize the diversity of technical experience contained within its pool of inventive human capital when firm-level innovation is a desired performance outcome? Using a sample of biotechnology start-ups observed from their founding onwards we examine the implications of alternate firm-level design regimes.Read More

Hybrid Vigor: Securing Venture Capital by Spanning Categories in Nanotechnology

Published Research

This study develops and tests a set of novel theoretical predictions about the conditions under which category spanning is rewarded by external audiences. To do this, we revisit the assumption that comprehensible organizational identities are associated with individual categories.Read More

Opening Up but Staying Local: Insights from Partnership Formations between Established and Startup Firms

Working Papers

In this paper, we develop a theoretical framework that considers that firms may be subject to both spatial and temporal myopia when crossing organizational boundaries and have a history of failures and successes in solving R&D problems. We use this framework to clarify how established firms search for and select among emerging partnering opportunities.Read More

Student Post: Friends That Pay Together Stay Together: How Venmo has Gained Recognition by Exploiting Social Ties


“Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend.” Polonius’s sage advice handed down throughout the generations lost its urgency for Penn students a year ago. Venmo, a startup by Penn graduates Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon-Ismail, has revolutionized reciprocity between friends by makingRead More

Entrepreneurial Alliance Patterns: Impact on Subsequent Mergers

Funded Research Proposal

How do entrepreneurial alliances shape new venture merger likelihoods and performance? This research is interested in exploring a knowledge mechanism which can cut both ways: as startups develop portfolios of alliance partners, there may be higher incentives for a given counterparty to try to acquire the startup so that it can mitigate the outflow of knowledge to other firms.Read More