As part of our profiles of TIM people, let us introduce Annamaria Conti of HEC Lausanne which is in Switzerland. Annamaria, you recently joined the TIM Executive Committee (congratulations!) so…

What are your research interests right now?

I am interested in the innovation production process in the context of technology startups. Within this broad area, I analyze information problems arising between startups and investors or between startups and potential acquirers. As these problems may hinder startups’ production of innovations, I investigate mechanisms that could improve transactions in the markets for venture capital and acquisitions. Such mechanisms could be patents, when used as a signal for the quality of a startup’s technology, or the prior acquisition a startup’s technologically similar pair, which could inform potential acquirers of technological opportunities arising from a given entrepreneurial ecosystem.

In parallel, I investigate the heterogeneous impact of economic downturns, like the one we are experiencing these days, on individuals’ decisions to bring high-technology ideas to the market in the form of new ventures. My specific interest lies in how worsening labor market conditions influence individuals’ opportunity costs of starting new ventures, the resulting composition of the entrepreneurial pool, and startup innovative and financial outcomes. Finally, given my personal experience as an immigrant to several different countries, I am interested in understanding the motives that lead startups to move their headquarters to a foreign country and the benefits these companies derive from their migration choices. 

What do you think is your most exciting contribution to academia?

I work on several exciting projects, and the common denominator, which I think is my most insightful contribution, is the investigation of factors that allow technology startups to overcome the several obstacles they encounter while engaging in innovation activities. These factors span a wide range, extending from information mechanisms, such as patents, venture capital and government support, to migration choices. In my current research, I analyze the interplay between these factors and its implications for startup performance.

Tell us something personal about yourself.

I was born and raised in Rome, Italy. I moved to Switzerland where I completed my Master’s and PhD’s degrees. Subsequently, I spent almost ten years in the US as a visiting PhD student, postdoc researcher, and assistant professor. I speak English, French, Spanish, and Italian. I enjoy traveling around the world. My most memorable trips were to Somalia, Colombia, Vietnam, and Peru. I love mountain hiking. In my pre-mum life, I reached 4900 meters, while hiking in the Andes.

Thanks Annamaria!

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