Profile: Vilma Chila investigates spin-outs

Although new ventures founded from garage entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs or colleague dropouts like Mark Zuckerberg capture the popular imagination, the overwhelming majority of entrepreneurs have significant previous employment experience in existing firms. In fact, estimates suggest that 9 out of 10 entrepreneurs were employed before becoming entrepreneurs.

My research interest in entrepreneurship is currently focused on entrepreneurial start-ups founded by former employees of an existing firm, which are called spin-outs. The ultimate goal of my research agenda is to advance our current understanding of what are the factors that lead to spin-out formation; how spin-outs are different from other entrepreneurial start-ups in terms of behavior and performance; how the creation of a spin-out influences the established firm where the prospective entrepreneurs departed from in terms of behavior and performance?  

Currently, I am compiling the life history of every semiconductor firm that entered the industry since 1955. I use semiconductor industry not only because it is a large and economically important industry, but also because spin-outs are prevalent and have contributed to the evolution of this industry.  I use multiple data sources such as archives, books, newspapers, industry reports and so forth to identifying all new entrants in the industry (yearly), their founders, the previous employment of their founders, and other firm and individual level characteristics. 

Vilma Chila
CentER Ph.D. Candidate
Tilburg School of Economics & Management (TiSEM) Tilburg University,
The Netherlands