Do Startups Benefit from Their Investors’ Reputation? Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment

We analyse a field experiment conducted on AngelList Talent, a large online search platform for startup jobs. In the experiment, AngelList randomly informed job seekers of whether a startup was funded by a top-tier investor and/or was funded recently. We find that the same startup receives significantly more interest when information about top-tier investors is provided. Information about recent funding has no effect. The effect of top-tier investors is not driven by low-quality candidates and is stronger for earlier-stage startups. The results show that venture capitalists can add value passively, simply by attaching their names to startups.