Date of Award

8-2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Business Administration

First Advisor

McKinley, William

Second Advisor

Wood, Matthew

Third Advisor

Goodale, john

Abstract

It is well established that the social relations of an organization can serve as an important signal of perceived quality (Reuber and Fischer, 2005; Suchman, 1995). Here, an organization's patterns of affiliations are often used by third parties to make inferences about intrinsic quality, which can assist in shaping the perception of that venture (Gulati and Higgins, 2003; Pollock et al., 2010). By extension, this dissertation focuses on how organizational affiliations influence the process of venture capital investment decision making. Specifically, given that angel investors often invest prior to venture capitalist involvement, I draw on signaling theory to explore whether certain characteristics of affiliated angel investors can influence the judgment of venture capitalists. Taking a multi-study approach, I explore this effect through the sequential evaluative process. In study one, I leverage conjoint analysis to investigate the influence of affiliated angel characteristics within the initial screening stage--that is, whether awareness of certain distinguishing characteristics of vested angels increases the probability that a venture reaches the formal due diligence stage. Study two focuses on the final investment decision; I utilize logistic regression on a secondary dataset of angel-backed ventures in an attempt to understand whether ventures backed by certain angels stand a higher probability of securing venture capital financing than ventures absent such affiliations. Significant effects from both studies support the idea that angels do indeed influence the evaluation and investment activity of formal venture capital investors.

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