Research Seminars

Alliance Portfolios and the Impact of Incumbent Affiliations on New Ventures

Speaker: Vikas A. Aggarwal
The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania

29 January 2009 - From 13h30 en salle H007 to 19h

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This paper examines cooperative relationships between technology-based start-ups and
industry incumbents, using a portfolio-level lens to understand the performance effects associated
with this phenomenon. While start-ups often engage in alliance relationships with established firms
in order to acquire a range of resources and capabilities necessary to navigate through the growth
stage of development, the alliance portfolio configuration of the start-up’s incumbent firm partners
can significantly influence the value which accrues to start-ups from these affiliations. Examining the
entire portfolio of an incumbent’s alliances can reveal variation in incumbent firm strategic intent
and highlight the degree to which multiple claims on the incumbent’s assets impact the resources
each affiliated start-up is able to access. Using a panel dataset of venture-backed start-ups founded
between 1990 and 2000, I find that greater overlap between the activities of a focal start-up’s
alliances and those of its incumbent partners has negative performance implications for the start-up
venture. Moreover, I find variation across industries and performance metrics, suggesting that the
dynamics of particular cooperative settings cause start-ups to be differentially susceptible to
incumbent resource congestion effects.

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