3620 Locust Walk
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Prof. Danny Kim is an Assistant Professor of Management at the Wharton School. His research is at the intersection of entrepreneurship, strategy, and labor markets. He has conducted studies on startup acquisitions by established firms, the determinants of successful ventures, and the broader role of entrepreneurship in the US economy. His research has been published in various academic journals and featured in media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Financial Times. He also works as an economist at the United States Census Bureau.
Prof. Kim received a Ph.D. from MIT School of Management and a B.A. from Dartmouth College. Prior to his doctoral studies, he worked at Harvard Business School and Morgan Stanley.
Abstract: Do young people make better entrepreneurs? Many observers, and many investors, believe that young people are especially likely to produce the most successful new firms. We use administrative data at the U.S. Census Bureau to study the ages of founders of growth-oriented start-ups in the past decade. Our primary finding is that successful entrepreneurs are middle-aged, not young. The mean founder age for the 1 in 1,000 fastest growing new ventures is 45.0. The findings are broadly similar when considering high-technology sectors, entrepreneurial hubs, and successful firm exits. Prior experience in the specific industry predicts much greater rates of entrepreneurial success. These findings strongly reject common hypotheses that emphasize youth as a key trait of successful entrepreneurs.
Abstract: We explore the role of founding teams in accounting for the post-entry dynamics of startups. While the entrepreneurship literature has largely focused on business founders, we broaden this view by considering founding teams, which include both the founders and the initial employees in the first year of operations. We investigate the idea that the success of a startup may derive from the organizational capital that is created at firm formation and is inalienable from the founding team itself. To test this hypothesis, we exploit premature deaths to identify the causal impact of losing a founding team member on startup performance. We find that the exogenous separation of a founding team member due to premature death has a persistently large, negative, and statistically significant impact on post-entry size, survival, and productivity of startups. While we find that the loss of a key founding team member (e.g. founders) has an especially large adverse effect, the loss of a non-key founding team member still has a significant adverse effect, lending support to our inclusive definition of founding teams. Furthermore, we find that the effects are particularly strong for small founding teams but are not driven by activity in small business-intensive or High Tech industries.
Abstract: This paper investigates the effectiveness of startup acquisitions as a hiring strategy. Unlike conventional hires who choose to join a new firm on their own volition, most acquired employees do not have a voice in the decision to be acquired, much less by whom to be acquired. Startup acquisitions therefore provide an empirical setting in which non-founding employees are quasi-randomly assigned to a new employer. I argue that the lack of worker choice lowers the average match quality between the acquired employees and the acquiring firm, leading to elevated rates of turnover. Using comprehensive employee-employer matched data from the US Census, I document that acquired workers are significantly more likely to leave compared to regular hires. This effect is more pronounced among high-earning individuals. Moreover, I demonstrate that these departures can be largely predicted ex-ante. Leveraging population data on career histories, I construct a measure of “startup affinity” for each target and acquiring firm based on pre-acquisition employment patterns, and show that this strongly predicts post-acquisition worker retention. Lastly, an analysis of serial acquirers suggests that firms learn over time how to effectively retain employees from startup acquisitions.
Jisoo Kim, Edward B. Roberts, Fiona Murray (2019), Entrepreneurship and Innovation at MIT: Continuing Global Growth and Impact, Foundations and Trends in Entrepreneurship, 15 (1), pp. 1-55.
Abstract: This study analyzes the economic impact of MIT alumni-founded companies and highlights the key trends in the MIT entrepreneurial ecosystem between 1950 and 2014. Based on a large-scale survey of all living MIT alumni in 2014, we estimate that MIT alumni have launched more than 30,000 active companies that employ roughly 4.6 million people and generate $1.9 trillion in annual revenues, which is approximately the size of the world's 10th largest GDP. We highlight the role of foreign-born students as entrepreneurs and innovators as well as key trends in the alumni-founded ventures’ industry composition, firm performance, and economic impact through job creation and sales. Lastly, based on the lessons from MIT in the past 60 years, we discuss various implications for university leadership for designing and implementing educational curriculum and programs to address the evolving nature of alumni entrepreneurship and innovation.
Jisoo Kim (2018), Is There a Startup Wage Premium? Evidence from MIT Graduates, Research Policy, 43 (3), pp. 637-649.
Abstract: While startups are the center of extensive policy discussion given their outsized role in job creation, it is not clear whether they create high quality jobs relative to incumbent firms. This paper investigates the wage differential between venture capital-backed startups and established firms, given that the two firm types compete for talent. Using data on MIT graduates, I find that non-founder employees at VC-backed startups earn roughly 10% higher wages than their counterparts at established firms. To account for unobserved heterogeneity across workers, I exploit the fact that many MIT graduates receive multiple job offers. I find that wage differentials are statistically insignificant from zero when individual fixed effects are included. This implies that much of the startup wage premium in the cross-section can be attributed to selection, and that VC-backed startups pay competitive wages for talent. To unpack the selection mechanism, I show that individual preferences for risk as well as challenging work strongly predict entry into VC-backed startups.
Jisoo Kim, Pierre Azoulay, Benjamin Jones, Javier Miranda (2018), The Average Age of a Successful Startup Founder Is 45, Harvard Business Review.
MGMT 801 is the foundation coures in the Entrepeurial Management program. The purpose of this course is to explore the many dimensions of new venture creation and growth. While most of the examples in class will be drawn from new venture formation, the principles also apply to entrepreneurship in corporate settings and to non-profit entrepreneurship. We will be concerned with content and process questions as well as with formulation and implementation issues that relate to conceptualizing, developing, and managing successful new ventures. The emphasis in this course is on applying and synthesizing concepts and techniques from functional areas of strategic management, finance, accounting, managerial economics, marketing, operations management, and organizational behavior in the context of new venture development. The class serves as both a stand alone class and as a preparatory course to those interested in writing and venture implementation (the subject of the semester-long course, MGMT 806). Format: Lectures and case discussions Requirements: Class participation, interim assignments, final project