Entrepreneurial Boards Report - About the Survey

Entrepreneurial Boards Composition Survey

Vell Executive Search set out to reexamine the state of board director membership in entrepreneurial companies. Our goal in this document is to:

  • Identify trends in board practices and corporate governance of entrepreneurial technology companies
  • Provide a baseline to benchmark practices and compensation
  • Compare and contrast practices of private companies and public companies
  • Analyze the reasons for the differences in practices
  • Establish a benchmark to measure future trends in board membership.

Over the course of four months, Vell Executive Search contacted a non-random sample of companies and 150 responded. The survey was conducted through a targeted e-mail distribution to ensure optimal response. Vell Executive Search sent invitations to participate in the survey to CEOs, venture capitalists, vice presidents of human resources and board members.

The survey questionnaire posed roughly 25 questions, requiring over 150 separate data. These questions spanned three broad categories: (1) company characteristics, such as size, industry, and ownership structure, (2) board composition and background, and (3) board remuneration. These responses represent the primary data on which this report’s findings are based. (Note: Approximately 150 companies completed at least one section on the electronic survey.)

For a detailed view of the geographic and industrial sectors of the respondents, see the charts displayed on the following pages. Approximately 50% of the companies had average annual revenues of less than US$10 million. That makes the revenue of the sample firms much smaller than those studied in earlier research. The majority of responding firms were privately held companies. Two thirds of firms have been operating for more than 10 years.

Demographic Characteristics of Sample Firms

Vell Executive Search purposely chose a broad range of companies in terms of varied locations, industries, ages, sizes, and ownership structures in order to define both corporate-wide and more granular trends.

Of the 93% of survey respondents with headquarters in North America, 63% are located in the U.S. and 30% are located in Canada. (See Figure 1a.) The remaining 7% of participating firms are headquartered Europe and in Japan.

Figure 1a: Global Geographic Concentration

Global Geographic Concentration

U.S. State Geographic Concentration

Of the 63% of responding firms that are headquartered in the U.S., the majority are based in Massachusetts. California, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania are also represented in the survey results. (See Figure 1b.)

Figure 1b: State Geographic Concentration

State Geographic Concentration

Canadian Province Geographic Location

Of the 30% of firms that are headquartered in Canada, the majority are located in Ontario. However, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta are also represented in the survey. (See Figure 1c.)

Figure 1c: Canadian Firm Geographic Concentration

Canadian Firm Geographic Concentration