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The "Acquihire" Phenomenon: The Use of Startup Acquisitions as a Human Resource Strategy for Market Competition and Innovation

  • Encina Hall 616 Serra Street Stanford, CA, 94305 United States (map)

In an age of machine learning and artificial intelligence, attracting top-level engineers is increasingly critical to competitive advantage in many dynamic markets. Thus, high-tech firms like Google, Facebook and Cisco increasingly acquire startups, not necessarily for their technologies but for their human resources. This phenomenon, called an 'acquihire,' is a portmanteau of the words "hire" and "acquire." Selby will discuss the mechanics of the acquihire and explain how - and why - firms may opt to pursue this much more expensive M&A strategy over traditional hiring options. She explores the impact of acquihiring on incumbent firm innovation and the competitive benefits firms hope to gain. 


Jaclyn Selby, Research Scholar, Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center


Jaclyn Selby's research is at the intersection of technology, management and policy. She focuses on competitive dynamics in high tech and media industries, emphasizing innovation, startups, and intellectual property. She joins Stanford from a postdoctoral fellowship at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Her work has been published in Communications & Strategies, Foreign Policy Digest, and Intellibridge Asia.  Jaclyn holds a PhD from the University of Southern California, and an MA from Georgetown University.

Prior to PhD life, Jaclyn was a Senior Researcher heading federally-funded tech strategy projects at Project Argus, a global leader in disease and disaster intelligence. She has partnered with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Open Source Center, the University of Iowa Avian Flu prediction market, and the Al Fornace molecular biology lab. Prior to Argus, she was Research & Marketing Director of the Style and Image Network and also consulted as a geopolitical analyst (Intellibridge, Castle Asia, Courage Services). A U.S. citizen, Jaclyn was raised overseas in Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.


4:15pm: Doors open
4:30pm-5:30pm: Talk and Discussion
5:30pm-6:00pm: Networking


CISAC Central Conference Room, 2nd floor Encina Hall, 616 Serra Street, Stanford, CA 94305

*Please note the venue as it is different from the usual Stanford SVNJ Public Forum location.


Open parking at Stanford University available starting 4:00pm near Encina Hall unless otherwise marked. Nearest parking garage is Structure 7, below the Graduate School of Business Knight School of Management. 



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