Non-founder human capital and the long-run growth and survival of high-tech ventures

Josh Siepel, Marc Cowling, Alex Coad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper considers the impact of non-founder human capital on high-tech firms' long-run growth and survival. Drawing upon threshold theory, we explore how lack of access to complementary skills at different points in the life course impacts founders' thresholds for exit. We examine these factors using a unique longitudinal dataset tracking the performance and survival of a sample of UK high-tech firms over thirteen years as the firms move from youth into maturity. We find that firms that survive but do not grow are characterized by difficulty in accessing complementary managerial skills in youth, while firms that grow but subsequently exit are characterized by shortfalls of specialized complementary skills during adolescence. Firms that grow and survive do not report skills shortfalls. We discuss the implications of these resource constraints for entrepreneurs’ decisions to persist or exit through the life course.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-43
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (


  • Long-run performance
  • Growth
  • Survival
  • Non-founder human capital
  • NTBF
  • Threshold theory
  • Entrepreneurial exit
  • Firm aging


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