The effects of business loans and technology support on the growth of U.S. online entrepreneurs

This study is focused on the relationship between borrowing constraints, access to cutting-edge technology and information about cutting-edge technology on the performance of U.S. online businesses. With the help of two large U.S. technology companies we will be able to randomize access to loans and free cloud computing credits (as well as information about the potential use of technology) to otherwise identical (generally small, but fast growing) firms, to see if they will have a causal impact on firm development. We will check the performance of these companies on a wide variety of metrics (sales, growth, input choices, etc.), heterogeneity in the treatment effects, as well as possible channels through which the effect may take place using both administrative data provided by our partners and data collected independently by the researchers (webscraping, surveying, etc.). We will survey the firms in our sample at baseline (before the program is implemented), short-term (around 6 months after), and longer term (around 18 months after) to check the persistency of the effects. We posit that at least the capital loans intervention will have a sizable short and long-term effect on firm performance, while the cloud computing experiments will induce firms to use more cloud computing for their day-to-day activities.