The inside track: entrepreneurs’ corporate experience and startups' access to incumbent partners’ resources

Balachandran, S (2024) The inside track: entrepreneurs’ corporate experience and startups' access to incumbent partners’ resources. Strategic Management Journal. ISSN 0143-2095 (In Press) OPEN ACCESS


Startups are increasingly turning to incumbent firms for venture capital, anticipating access to the investor’s knowledge and complementary assets. However, startups' eventual access to these resources varies widely. This paper highlights one important driver of such variance, whether startups' managers were previously employed by an incumbent in the same industry. Using data from the life-sciences, I find that such corporate experience can precipitate technical knowledge flows to startups by enabling the generation of relational capital with incumbent firm managers. It also helps startups navigate incumbents’ decision-processes to formalize access to downstream complementary assets via alliances. The former effect is stronger when corporate experience is technology-focused, the latter when it is commercialization-focused. Corporate experience at the investing incumbent firm amplifies informal knowledge-flows but not formal alliances.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Strategy and Entrepreneurship
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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Balachandran, S. (2024). The inside track: Entrepreneurs' corporate experience and startups' access to incumbent partners' resources. Strategic Management Journal, 1–34, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.

Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2024 10:09
Date of first compliant deposit: 08 Jan 2024
Last Modified: 08 May 2024 00:46

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