Founding Team & Diversity

Research Team: Heejung Jung

Entrepreneurship is a pattern of behaviour that enables us to recognise and evaluate opportunities, and to mobilise the resources necessary to pursue these opportunities. The tasks involved are complex and challenging since the very beginning of the entrepreneurial journey. The first challenging decision that an entrepreneur face is forming a founding team. Having a good founding team is crucial. It is imprinted into ventures’ strategic decisions, performance and eventually survivals. Yet, it is often difficult to evaluate founding members before seeing them action. Founding teams need considerable skill and strategic ability to overcome many hurdles and avoid multiple pitfalls. Thus, having co-founders with complementary skill sets seems a rational choice. However, it is well known that often entrepreneurs do not team up with co-founders with complementary skills. Rather, they tend to team up with individuals who are similar to them with respect to race, age, gender, education, etc. This results in the dominance of white-male founding teams in many venture scenes. With this regard, under the theme of ‘founding team and diversity’, we are conducting a series of projects studying how entrepreneurs with minority backgrounds are searching for their partner founders, how entrepreneurs structure their founding team, how government policies can induce the emergence of female founders, etc. These projects use big data on technology venture teams, the US national survey of entrepreneurs, and experimental data on MBA students. Some of these projects have been published in Academy of Management Journal and featured on INSEAD knowledge.