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Title: Choosing the right friends - predicting success of startup entrepreneurs and innovators through their online social network structure

Authors: Peter A. Gloor; Pierre Dorsaz; Hauke Fuehres; Manfred Vogel

Addresses: MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, 5 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA ' MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, 5 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA ' MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, 5 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA ' MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, 5 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA

Abstract: We compare the success of startup entrepreneurs and innovators with their social networking behaviour. In particular, we analyse the LinkedIn, Facebook, and e-mail networks of swissnex Boston, Switzerland's science and technology outpost in Boston, connecting Swiss and US entrepreneurs and academics. In our analysis, we focus on the participants of two Swiss entrepreneurship-coaching programmes, venture leaders and VentureKick. We find that the more central actors are in the different types of networks, the more successful they are, proximity to key people also correlates with success. In addition, we detect indicators for the key role of ETH Zurich for the creation of new startups. On the theoretical side, we add to emergent research comparing online networks to real-world networks, confirming the value of pre-existing social capital acquired attending a selective university. On the practical side, our results have key implications for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and organisers of entrepreneurship coaching programmes.

Keywords: entrepreneurship; social network analysis; SNA; online social networks; LinkedIn; Facebook; XING; swissnex; venture leaders; VentureKick; startup entrepreneurs; innovators; startups; innovation; social network structure; social networking; entrepreneurship coaching; venture leaders; pre-existing social capital; venture capital.

DOI: 10.1504/IJODE.2013.053668

International Journal of Organisational Design and Engineering, 2013 Vol.3 No.1, pp.67 - 85

Available online: 02 May 2013 *

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