People well known to the general public are increasingly acting as business angels (BAs) for young and innovative ventures worldwide. These BAs are less known for their venture evaluation skills and often do not have a professional reputation as investors. The signaling function of these well-known investors could therefore be less relevant for founders because of a limited quality assurance function. Nonetheless, a venture’s affiliation with a well-known BA may still positively alter the quality perceptions of various stakeholders because the BAs can put their reputation in other areas of life at risk, provide an easy-to-interpret and fluent cue to the general public, and improve the observability of the signal. Using a sample of more than 2,900 early-stage ventures that made a venture pitch during the Canadian, German, U.K., and U.S. versions of the reality TV show Dragons’ Den, we find that BAs’ degree of being known has a positive impact on target firm survival, web traffic, and sales. The impact of BAs’ general degree of being known is particularly strong if the congruency between the investors and the target ventures is high. These effects exist over and above potential selection effects, the professional reputation of the BA, and the greater financial resources of a funded venture. The empirical findings indicate that well-known BAs can have a positive effect on venture performance and that founders should consider not only the professional reputation of BAs but also the degree to which they are known to a general audience.
|Journal||Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice|
|Publication status||Published - 24 Feb 2023|
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- being known, business angel, congruency, relative weight analysis, Being known, Business angel, Congruency, Relative weight analysis