This paper examines the role of category affiliations in entrepreneurial resource acquisition. Pace existing studies, we suggest category spanning will cause firms to be overlooked or discounted because evaluators assume that they have less expertise than their category-focused competitors; a phenomenon known as the ‘categorical imperative’. We suggest, however, that categories can be related both vertically and horizontally, and that this has important implications for understanding how the actors that span between them are evaluated. Studying startup ventures in nanotube technology,we showthat venture capital investments were affected by a firm's position across patent classes that were related at both of these levels of analysis and that the interaction between them had implications for which firms received the largest investments.
- organization theory,
- venture capital
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/michael_lounsbury/6/