Research and teaching
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Ramana Nanda, Sampsa Samila, and Olav Sorenson

We use investment-level data to study performance persistence in venture capital (VC). Consistent with prior studies, we find that each additional IPO among a VC firm’s first ten investments predicts as much as an 8.5% higher IPO rate on its subsequent investments, though this effect erodes with time. In exploring its sources, we document several additional facts: successful outcomes stem in large part from investing in the right places at the right times; VC firms do not persist in their ability to choose the right places and times; but early success does lead to investing more in later rounds and in larger syndicates. This pattern of results seems most consistent with the idea that initial success improves access to deal flow. That preferential access raises the quality of subsequent investments, perpetuating performance differences in initial investments.

Yuan Shi, David M. Waguespack, and Olav Sorenson

The results of archival studies may depend on when researchers analyze data for at least two reasons: (1) databases change over time and (2) the sampling frame, in terms of the period covered, may reflect different environmental conditions. We examined these issues through the replication of Hochberg, Ljungqvist, and Lu’s (2007) research on the centrality of venture capital firms and their performance. We demonstrate (1) that one can reproduce the results in the original article if one uses data downloaded at roughly the same time as the original researchers did, (2) that these results remain fairly robust to even a decade of database updating, but (3) that the results depend sensitively on the sampling frame. Centrality only has a positive relationship to fund performance during boom periods.

Sociological Science, 4 (2017): 107-122

Olav Sorenson

Status and reputation have often been treated as synonyms. These concepts, however, arise from disconnected literatures in which they had quite distinct connotations. This article explores the similarities and differences between these theoretical constructs, discusses the extent to which research in the management literature has captured one versus the other, and proposes a path for moving forward our understanding of these concepts.

Strategic Organization, 12 (2014): 62-69