Document Type

Research Article


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate into the conditions under which founders’ human capital (HC) benefits new venture growth (NVG). One such condition is investigated in this study – initial assets at founding. Specifically, founding assets are hypothesized to moderate the relationship between founders’ HC and NVG. Design/methodology/approach – The longitudinal panel database from the Kauffman Firm Survey for the period 2004–2011 was used to test the hypotheses. The final sample consisted of 4,923 firms, with 34,461 observations made over seven years. Findings – The regression analysis found the effect of founders’ HC on NVG and the moderating role of founding assets in the HC–NVG relationship. Research limitations/implications – New ventures benefit even more from founders’ education level, industry and startup experiences when the startups have larger assets at founding. The effect of founders’ education and experiences on startup growth is contingent upon the initial assets at founding. Practical implications – The results of this study can help practitioners and policy makers to understand the drivers of NVG and the interactions among these drivers. Growth-oriented startups may require a large investment in founding assets such as production facilities. Startups with fewer founding assets may find it particularly difficult to negotiate with external stakeholders and may face unusually intense competitive responses from competitors. Policy makers should tailor the support to the founding conditions of new firms. Originality/value – The prior literature has shown mostly the independent positive effects of various resources on firm growth. This study argues and empirically shows that startups grow faster when founders with high HC have more assets to utilize. The resource-based view literature was expanded by adding important new causal mechanisms, enriching our understanding of how founders’ HC interact with founding assets, jointly affecting NVG. Like a big fish in a small pond, even highly educated and experienced entrepreneurs have limited opportunities to utilize their talents in a startup with a lower initial resource position.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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