This dissertation analyzes why some VC-funded high-tech firms do not generate harvesting events for investors through a lucrative sale, either to another company or on the stock exchange. In other words, I seek to understand two performance outcomes: failure and persistence. Building on the technology strategy and imprinting literatures, I investigate the effects of three signals of quality on failure and persistence. In the first essay, hypotheses are developed on the unintended consequences of patenting. Disclosure, through patents, exposes new firms to undesired spillovers that harm their survival chances. The second essay exploits asymmetric effects of factors on success and failure to expose start-up persistence. It analyzes another signal of quality—technology breadth, the applicability of inventions across domains—and suggests that the hazards of disclosure also varies with this breadth. Finally, in the third essay I hypothesize on the effects of signals of quality related to founding team on a third outcome, ‘living dead’—a transitory state to which a start-up shifts when it persists beyond the norm without harvest or failure. I tested these hypotheses on a hand-collected longitudinal dataset on 428 US VC-backed wireless firms founded between 1990 and 2009 using event history analysis and matched case-control study

Anindya Ghosh, Not Quite Up To Scratch: An Examination Of Failure, Persistence, And ‘Living Dead’ Outcomes For Wireless Start-Ups, Penn Dissertations Paper 341, (2011)