The impact of university education upon digital start-ups

Ratzinger, Daniel (2017) The impact of university education upon digital start-ups. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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With a worldwide shift towards a knowledge economy, universities are seen as a fundamental driver of economic growth. While previous studies have focused on universities’ more direct commercialisation activities, this research investigates the relatively unexplored influence of university education upon graduate entrepreneurship. By considering the digital economy, this exploratory study examines a fast growing sector where knowledge is considered to be a core asset.

A global open dataset of digital start-ups is used to evaluate universities’ contribution to the performance of these ventures through the provision of formal technical, business or more general education. The impact of this human capital contribution on the probability of being a habitual entrepreneur in this industry sector, as well as the impact on the probability and rate of reaching the equity investment milestones of “funding” and “exit” were investigated.

Prior to the data analysis, using computer science methods, unsupervised algorithms were developed to pre-process and transform the crowd-sourced dataset by linking multiple existing data sources, and it was demonstrated that this approach allows sophisticated natural language processing challenges to be overcome with relatively low technical capabilities.

The consequent analysis of the transformed dataset reveals that: (1) having a founder with a university qualification significantly increases the probability of securing funding and successful exit; (2) having a founder with a university qualification in business significantly decreases the duration at which the first funding is secured and exit is achieved; (3) having a technical university qualification has no impact on the duration to securing funding, and increases the duration to exit. Following the empirical analysis, models for digital start-up teams are proposed. The thesis concludes that a consideration of the heterogeneous influence of different types of university qualifications reveals novel insights into the relationship between human capital and new venture performance.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Mosey, Simon
Greenman, Andrew
Keywords: Academic entrepreneurship, Human capital, Digital Economy
Subjects: H Social sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA 75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Nottingham University Business School
UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Computer Science
Item ID: 38838
Depositing User: Ratzinger, Daniel
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2017 04:40
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2018 20:54

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