Teacher Instructing

Chris Courtney

WNY Prosperity Fellow, Ph.D. Candidate Strategy / Entrepreneurship

          My research lies at the interface of strategic entrepreneurship and innovation. Innovative products rarely result from isolated sparks of genius; instead, they evolve and develop through interaction and collaboration with many parties, including customers, suppliers, and capital providers. My research explores how firms navigate this dynamic process to improve innovation, funding, and customer acquisition. The first stream of my research examines how resource constrained ventures deal with information asymmetry to attract stakeholders such as investors or customers and how early feedback from stakeholders impacts venture innovativeness and performance. My second stream of research examines how organizations harness open and distributed innovation processes to access skills and knowledge from external parties such as end-users, prospective customers, and experts along the research and development process.

          The context of my research usually involves crowdfunding for its potential to help entrepreneurs fund early stage ventures where traditional financing is not available. Another fascinating side of crowdfunding is the opportunities available for product creators to test early assumptions and learn through experiments, similar to the lean startup methodology.



An Academic’s Story

Chris Courtney is a Western New York Prosperity Fellow and current Ph.D. Candidate in Management Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the University at Buffalo. Chris is the recipient of the Dean’s Award for Ph.D. Student Research Excellence, awarded to a senior School of Management Ph.D. student who has demonstrated exceptional research and the highest potential as a scholar, based on journal publications, research awards, presentations and papers at top conferences. Chris’s research is focused on crowdfunding for its potential to help entrepreneurs fund early stage ventures where traditional financing is not available. His work is published in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, one of the leading entrepreneurship journals. He also worked with the Kauffman Foundation to develop an industry report on entrepreneurial financing titled “Changing Capital: Emerging Trends in Entrepreneurial Finance.” He has been invited to present his crowdfunding research at the 2016 (Anaheim, CA) and 2017 (Atlanta, GA) Academy of Management Annual Meetings and the 2016 Darden and Cambridge Judge Entrepreneurship and Innovation Research Conference in Washington, DC. His research has also gained media attention and is featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, News Day, and Crowdfund Insider. Chris was the recipient of the Arun Jain Fellowship while working on his MBA, and his team won third place in the 2012 NYS Business Plan Competition. Before returning to school he ran his own business for more than eight years, providing reverse logistic and remanufacturing solutions to larger retailers. He served as an adjunct instructor in the Computer Science department at Niagara County Community College and currently teaches entrepreneurship and strategy at UB. He previously served on the Board of Directors for the Greater South Buffalo Chamber of Commerce. He and his family served as the Ambassador Family for the March of Dimes, on the Family Advisory Council at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, and as volunteers for Wings Flights of Hope. Chris has worked at the Erie County Industrial Development Agency in the International Program, helping small businesses expand internationally. He completed a two-year professional development program and is now LeaderCORE certified at the Role Model level. Chris was named the 2017 “Someone You Should Know” by the West Seneca Bee.

Teacher with Tablet

Published Work

Thinking about crowdfunding your next project? Wonder what it takes to be successful? Look below for some of my current crowdfunding research. With many projects in the works, check back for more.

Resolving information asymmetry: Signaling, endorsement, and crowdfunding success

March 1, 2017

This paper draws on information economics to examine when signals and endorsements obtained from multiple information sources enhance or diminish one another’s effects. We propose that signals through startup actions (use of media) and characteristics (crowdfunding experience) can mitigate information asymmetry concerns about project quality and founder credibility, enhancing the project’s likelihood of attaining funding. Further, we posit that while startup-originated signals offset each other’s effects, third party endorsements (sentiment expressed in backer comments) validate and complement startup-originated signals. Empirical analyses based on a comprehensive dataset of crowdfunding projects on the Kickstarter website during 2009-2015 confirm our predictions.

Changing Capital: Emerging Trends in Entrepreneurial Finance.

October, 2016

Based on interviews and data collected, we
identified the following trends:
1. The VC industry is shifting at the biggest and
smallest ends of the market.
2. Online platforms—for crowdfunding, angel
syndication, and lending—are increasingly
important options for seed-stage and early-stage
startup needs.
3. Sources of capital are emerging outside of
traditional geographical hubs.
4. Women are playing more decision-making roles in
entrepreneurial capital.
5. There is robust experimentation with differentiated
capital models.

Teenage Students Raising Hands


Lectures & Workshops

Strategic Management

Fall 2016, 2015

Graduate Level Supervised Research

Fall 2015

Intermediate Spreadsheet Applications

Spring 2014, 2013

Entrepreneurship and Small Business

Spring 2015, 2014

Introduction to Computer Information Systems

Fall 2012

Academies Introductory Seminar

Fall 2014

Introduction to Spreadsheets

Spring 2014, 2013

Introduction to Computer Application

Spring 2013


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