The Startup Anatomy study was conducted between February and September 2019, starting with the identification and selection of 3500 founders, who met the inclusion criteria. Of the resulting 530 registrations, 232 probands from 170 startups completed our online tests and survey.
The objectives of the study are as follows:
1) identifying specific patterns among startup founders regarding individual characteristics (compared to corporate managers);
2) analyzing the relationship between founders’ differences and the success of a startup;
3) exploring potential differences between female and male founders.
Main findings of the study
The main findings of the study comprise:
- There are significant differences between startup founders and managers working in a corporate environment, regarding personality, motivational factors, interests and thinking style.
- Entrepreneurs are more Active, Emotional, more motivated by Autonomy, Flexibility and Meaning and Values, they have stronger Creative and Technical interests and a more Flexible thinking style compared to the control group (corporate managers).
- The control group is significantly more Self-disciplined and Norm-oriented, more motivated by Recognition, Achievement, Influence and Material Award, with stronger interests in Administrative procedures, Leading and Transforming Processes, and more Structured thinking style compared to the entrepreneurs.
- Startups in which founders are changing and adjusting their team roles more frequently are growing faster than startups with fixed roles.
- Ventures which their founders perceive as IT startups displayed a greater headcount growth.
- The study revealed a barrier in the second and the third year for female founders, slowing down the growth of their startups. However, a detailed analysis, taking the industry, startup age and work experience into account, leveled the difference between genders. Also, we can hypothesize that the current business environment promotes more traditionally masculine characteristics in business (e.g. being motivated by achievement, oriented to leading others) which is according to our findings especially important between 1-3 years of business development.