Abstract

It is widely accepted that organizations can improve their performance by learning from own past experiences and the experience of others. Some studies have argued that organizations learn more from failure than from success, while others have found a reverse effect. The same applies for learning from similar versus diverse events. This paper combines the debate on both issues by investigating how learning from success versus failure interacts with diversity of experience. The venture capital industry provides a reasonably appropriate context to study this phenomenon. As each venture capitalist (VC) typically invests in a variety of firms, each new investment provides opportunities to apply learnings from past experiences. The objective of this paper is therefore the impact of experiences with failed and successful firm investment on the performance of new firm investments.

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