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Relation between start-ups’ online social media presence and fundraising

Song Yang (Economics School, Jilin University, Jilin, China)
Ron Berger (Department of Marketing, College of Law and Business, Ramat Gan, Israel and Sheffield Hallam Business School, Sheffield University Management School, Sheffield, UK)

Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management

ISSN: 2053-4620

Article publication date: 3 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the emergences of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have changed the way human beings communicate and interact. In the past few years, this has become crucial in the context of business, especially in start-up fund raising. Access to venture capital financing is a crucial issue in the entrepreneurial finance literature. To further explore the use of social media for entrepreneurs, the authors have explored how entrepreneurs use social media for fund-raising purposes. The authors have used Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to collect entrepreneurs’ funding data from Crunchbase and entrepreneurs’ social media data from Facebook and Twitter. The results show that social media is significant for start-ups in their success or failure in fund raising. Investing energy into utilizing online social media and exhausting these platforms consciously contributes to the financial success of start-ups. Therefore, start-ups which are popular among online fans and followers can manage to raise larger amounts of funding in the early stages.

Design/methodology/approach

This research relies on a wide range of quantitative data, which was obtained from three different online sources which includes Facebook, Twitter and CrunchBase. The use of a variety of internet technologies have been linked to increases in individuals’ social network diversity, which likely increases access to social capital at the individual level (Hampton and Wellman, 2003). The dataset was retrieved by using APIs, which enables the collection of novel metrics, from various sources that provide a well-structured dataset (Priem and Hemminger, 2010). Hypotheses were tested on a longitudinal dataset from 2000 to 2013, comprising general and investment data and social media metrics of start-ups. First, a sample from the database was selected to ensure data availability and reliability. After sampling, all the selected companies’ Twitter and Facebook activities were observed and metrics were analysed. SPSS was used to conduct correlation and regression analyses.

Findings

This study analysed whether start-ups’ social media convention is able to influence investors’ choices, especially the amount of total funding given. The paper showed that innovative start-up companies were able to benefit from communicating on social media platforms. Start-ups, which were using Facebook and Twitter effectively, focusing on valuable social media metrics, received larger amount of funding in total. Furthermore, it was observed that as their business grew, they intended to put more effort into online social networking. It confirmed the idea that businesses are using social media consciously.

Originality/value

This is the only paper that the authors could find that examines the relationship between fundraising and activity on social networks.

Keywords

Citation

Yang, S. and Berger, R. (2017), "Relation between start-ups’ online social media presence and fundraising", Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 161-180. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSTPM-09-2016-0022

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited