Michael Ewens

Associate Professor of Finance and Entrepreneurship
B.A., Washington University in St. Louis, 2004; M.A., University of California, San Diego, 2008; Ph.D., 2010. Caltech, 2014-.


Applied Microeconomics; Business, Economics, and Management


Entrepreneurial Finance; Financial Intermediation; New Firm Formation


Michael Ewens studies entrepreneurship, focusing on financial intermediation, innovation, and management of high-growth entrepreneurial firms. While most entrepreneurship research has traditionally relied on limited data sets, his approach is distinctly quantitative, as he collects and analyzes vast amounts of data to better understand the financing of entrepreneurial firms. He's studying such firms in their early stages, determining whether success is due to the added value brought by venture capitalists or to the intrinsic competency of the firm. The interaction between the venture capitalist and entrepreneur is indirectly impacted by the former's own incentives.  Two research projects ask how the venture capitalist's compensation structure and incentive to raise more money impact the entrepreneurial firm. Another project studies the unique role that high-growth firms play for innovation.  In particular, one can ask whether entrepreneurial firms are truly more innovative than large firms and, in turn, isolate the source of any advantages. Finally, failure is the norm for high-growth entrepreneurial firms; however, it is rarely studied in detail.  One project investigates the determinants and effects of executive turnover as these firms suffer performance setbacks, while another connects investment strategy and failure rates

Before arriving at Caltech in 2014, Ewens was an assistant professor of finance and entrepreneurship at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. Since 2006, he has been a quantitative advisor for Correlation Ventures, a quantitative-focused venture capital firmed based in San Diego. He was also a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business in the spring of 2014. He has received the Kauffman Junior Faculty Fellowship in Entrepreneurship Research (2013-2014) and the Berkman Junior Faculty Development Grant (Carnegie Mellon University, 2013).

Selected Awards: 
Kauffman Junior Faculty Fellowship in Entrepreneurship Research, 2013-14
Berkman Junior Faculty Development Grant, Carnegie Mellon University, 2013
Selected Publications 


"Is the VC Partnership More than the Sum of its Partners?" (with M. Rhodes-Kropf) [Jan. 2014] Forthcoming, Journal of Finance

"The Price of Diversifiable Risk in Venture Capital and Private Equity" (with C. Jones and M. Rhodes-Kropf) Review of Financial Studies 26.8 (2013): 1854-1889.

"Statistical Discrimination or Racial Prejudice? A Large Sample Field Study" (with B. Tomlin and C. Wang) Review of Economics and Statistics 96.1 (2014): 119-134.

Working Papers

"The Consequences of Entrepreneurial Firm Founding on Innovation" (with Christian Fons-Rosen) [July 2013]. Winner Best Paper Award, 4th Entrepreneurial Finance and Innovation Conference, June 2013.

"Bad News Can Wait: Venture Capital Fund-raising and Portfolio Strategy" (with I. Chakraborty) [June 2014]

Works in Progress

"After the Thrill is Gone: Investor Replacement of Executives in Imperiled Portfolio Companies" (with Matt Marx [MIT])

"The Effect of Disclosure on Firm Behavior: Evidence from De-registrations of Small Banks" (with Pierre Liang [CMU])

"The Changing Face of the VC-Backed Entrepreneur" (with Ramana Nanda and Matthew Rhodes-Kropf [HBS])

  • Michael Ewens
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