Signaling for more money: The roles of founders’ human capital and investor prominence in resource acquisition across different stages of firm development

Eun Jeong Ko, Alexander McKelvie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


We use signaling theory to explain how new ventures effectively signal future prospects to acquire external resources. Based on a sample of 235 new ventures drawn from a unique dataset combining multiple sources, we examine the signals of founders’ human capital (i.e., education, industry experience, and founding experience) and investor prominence and their influence on the amount of external funding received across two stages of venture funding. We find that founders’ founding experience and education have the greatest effects for acquiring first-round financing, but in later stages, only the signaling effect from education remains. Furthermore, we find important interactions between founders’ human capital and investor prominence in the second round of funding. By utilizing lagged funding information, we show that different types of signals have a dynamic and temporal impact on new ventures’ resource acquisition, including the persistence of some signals and the temporariness of others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)438-454
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Business Venturing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018



  • Endorsement
  • Human capital
  • Investor prominence
  • Resource acquisition
  • Signal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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