Here comes the sun: the impact of incidental contextual factors on entrepreneurial resource acquisition

Dushnitsky, G and Sarkar, S (2022) Here comes the sun: the impact of incidental contextual factors on entrepreneurial resource acquisition. Academy of Management Journal, 65 (1). pp. 66-92. ISSN 0001-4273


This paper focuses on investment decisions in nascent, seed-stage startups, where information is scarce and uncertainty is intense. The entrepreneurship literature shows investment is a function of the investor-startup pair; some studies investigate startup characteristics, while others focus on investor traits. We complement extant work by studying factors beyond the investor-startup pair; namely, incidental contextual factors such as changes in the physical environment. Drawing on affect-as-information theory, we conjecture that, in the face of intense uncertainty, sunnier days may affect investors’ mood and result in a greater likelihood of investment. Archival and experimental analyses inform our predictions. The former utilizes proprietary data on 1,335 startups graduating from European accelerators. Every accelerator holds a Demo Day, where startups pitch to investors. We find that graduating on a ‘sunnier’ day increases the likelihood of investment. The ‘sunnier’ effect is stronger under intense uncertainty, where startups (a) are nascent, or (b) the founders have limited human-capital. An experimental study where prospective investors evaluate a Demo Day pitch yields further insights. Not only do we find a positive sunshine-investment association, but also document the association is mediated by investors’ mood. Our findings complement extant work and contribute to the understanding of seed-stage investment decisions.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Strategy and Entrepreneurship
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© 2021 Academy of Management

Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2021 11:19
Subjects: Research methodology
Last Modified: 29 May 2024 01:49

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