Going it all alone in web entrepreneurship?: a comparison of single founders vs. co-founders

Faculty/Professorship: Professur für Wirtschaftsinformatik, insbesondere Soziale Netzwerke 
Author(s): Spiegel, Olav; Abbassi, Puja; Schlagwein, Daniel; Fischbach, Kai  
Title of the compilation: Proceedings of the 2013 annual conference on Computers and people research
Publisher Information: New York, NY : ACM
Year of publication: 2013
Pages: 21-31
ISBN: 978-1-4503-1975-1
Series ; Volume: SIGMIS-CPR '13
Language(s): English
URL: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2487301
There is a considerable amount of entrepreneurial activity in the information technology (IT) industry, especially in the Web. Many claim that the founders are the single most critical factor in startup success. The entrepreneurial self-efficacy theory and the jack-of-all-trades theory suggest that founders with diverse skills and broad experience will be able to successfully create a business alone. Alternatively, social capital theory suggests that founders who have high social capital and who engage in social networking will be able to go alone. Others, however, claim that team building is crucial for startup success as to bringing complementary skills together.

In this study, we investigate if having a diverse skill set, higher experience, or more social connections is indeed a determinant of single founders, while co-founders have more specialized (yet complementary) skills. Our results are derived from analysis of 91 Web startups and their 183 (co-) founders. Contradicting existing theory, we could not find determinants for starting a new business alone. However, we find that co-founders do indeed complement each other's skills.

Our results suggest that existing entrepreneurial theory needs to be expanded and revised to accommodate for the contradictions found and that future research is required in this area.
Keywords: co-founders, entrepreneurial self-efficacy theory, human capital, jack-of-all-trades theory, social capital
Type: Conferenceobject
URI: https://fis.uni-bamberg.de/handle/uniba/1824
Year of publication: 8. July 2013