Seminar  |  12/15/2021, 03:00 PM

Innovation & Entrepreneuship Seminar: Startups, Unicorns, and the Local Supply of Inventors

Lee Fleming (UC Berkeley)


Seminars currently take place in online format (see seminar page).

We estimate the impact of the inflow of inventors on the formation and success of local venture-backed startups, strengthening causality with a shift-share instrument based on the historic spatial distribution of millions of inventor surnames in the 1940 U.S. Census. Arrival of inventors increases the number of venture-backed startups, but only in the same technology fields of the newly-arrived inventors — and at the expense of other fields. Inventor arrivals boost the number of successful startups — including $1B+ “unicorn” exits — while reducing bankruptcies and “fire-sale” acquisitions. The improvement is also driven by a reallocation of venture capital away from investment in low-tech startups, especially unsuccessful ones.


Contact: Marina Chugunova