Oren Lederman Dissertation Defense

Founders’ Dynamics—Interpersonal Relationships and Between-Team Interaction in Early Startups


The ability to predict the success and failure of an early-stage company is critical for accelerator programs and investors. Prior studies marked human and social capital as important factors determining the potential of a startup to succeed. However, very little is known about the effect that founders’ interpersonal relationships have on the success of their companies, and the effect of their relationships with other startups located in the same innovation space on their performance. To investigate these relationships, we propose a combination of methodology and field experiments that make use of Rhythm, a wearable sensing platform designed for measuring social interaction. We first describe the design of the platform and its evaluation process. Then, we describe a large scale field study in university startup accelerator program and its results. Finally, we propose future enhancements to the platform and directions for future research


Alex "Sandy" P. Pentland, Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, MIT Program in Media Arts and Sciences

Fiona E. Murray, Professor of Entrepreneurship and co-director of MIT Innovation Initiative, MIT Sloan School of Management

Daniel Fehder, Assistant Professor of Management and Organization, USC Marshall School of Business

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