Three Essays in Entrepreneurial and Corporate Finance
My dissertation is comprised of three chapters. In the first chapter, I analyze the effect of top management changes on subsequent corporate innovation in venture capital-backed private firms using a hand-collected dataset. I find that top management changes are associated with significantly more and higher quality corporate innovation (as measured by their patenting activity). I show that top management changes are likely to be venture-driven and that the effect of top management changes on corporate innovation is stronger for firms where venture capitalists have greater power. An instrumental variable analysis using an exogenous shock to the supply of outside managers available for hire implies a causal effect of top management changes on corporate innovation. I establish that one mechanism through which top management changes enhance corporate innovation is through new management teams hiring more inventors for a given investment size. I also show that both top management changes and corporate innovation have a positive impact on firms' successful exits. In the second chapter, co-authored with Thomas Chemmanur and Karthik Krishnan, we hypothesize that VC-backing garners greater “investor attention” (Merton (1987)) for IPOs, allowing IPO underwriters to perform two information-related roles more efficiently during the book-building and road-show process: information dissemination, where the lead underwriter disseminates noisy information about various aspects of the IPO firm to institutional investors; and information extraction, where the lead underwriter extracts information useful in pricing the IPO firm equity from institutional investors. Using pre-IPO media coverage as a proxy, we show empirically that VC-backed firm IPOs indeed obtain greater investor attention, causally yielding them more favorable IPO characteristics such as higher IPO and secondary market valuations. In the third chapter, co-authored with Thomas Chemmanur, Lei Kong, and Karthik Krishnan, using panel data on top management characteristics and a management quality factor constructed using common factor analysis on individual management quality proxies, we analyze the relation between the human capital or “quality” of firm management and its innovation inputs and outputs. We control for the endogenous matching between firm and management quality using a plausibly exogenous shock to the supply of new managers as an instrument, thereby finding a causal relationship between management quality and innovation activities. We show that higher management quality firms achieve greater innovation output by hiring more and higher quality inventors.