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Intellectual capital and the acquisition of human capital by technology-based new ventures

Lee J. Zane (School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey, USA)

Journal of Intellectual Capital

ISSN: 1469-1930

Article publication date: 26 April 2022

Issue publication date: 28 April 2023




Intellectual Capital (IC) is essential to the success of new technology-based firms. A key component of IC is human capital. Human capital is shown to affect firm innovation, growth, and survival positively. This paper investigates the signaling effect of technology-based start-ups’ initial stock of IC on obtaining skilled human capital.


The researcher employs signaling theory to analyze primary data concerning the firm’s initial stock of IC and subsequently hired human capital from founders of 236 technology-based new ventures in the USA Hypotheses are tested through a set of hierarchical linear regressions.


This study demonstrates that the firms’ IC, in the form of quantity of founders with doctorates and intellectual property, correlates with the quality (average education level) of subsequently hired technical and business human capital. In addition, the quantity of founders with doctorates is correlated with the quantity of subsequently hired technical human capital.


The paper collects retrospective data from founders of technology-based new ventures. While human capital is important for technology-based firms’ innovation and growth, little research has investigated potential connections between firms’ initial IC and subsequent hiring of top-level human capital. This paper investigates these connections explicitly.



Zane, L.J. (2023), "Intellectual capital and the acquisition of human capital by technology-based new ventures", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 780-798.



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