Cirrus Foroughi - Faculty & Research - Harvard Business School
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Cirrus Foroughi

Doctoral Student

Cirrus Foroughi is a doctoral student in the Strategy unit at Harvard Business School.  His research interests lie at the intersection of innovation and firm strategy, with a particular focus on the healthcare and biotech industries.

Prior to HBS, Cirrus held research assistantships at the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, as well as worked briefly in the pharmaceutical sector.  He graduated from Dartmouth College in 2013 with an A.B. in Economics with High Honors.
Working Papers
  1. Digital Innovation with High Costs of Entry: Evidence from Software-Driven Medical Devices

    Cirrus Foroughi and Ariel Dora Stern

    Does technological opportunity enable the rise of new entrants or reinforce the position of incumbents? Research on this classic topic often ignores the high costs of entry seen in some industries. We offer a novel approach to this question in the context of regulated medical technology, where the introduction of software is of growing importance and has created fresh opportunities for new product development. Pioneering a new application of supervised document classification, we consider over 35,000 new medical devices that came to market in the United States from 2002-2016 in order to identify predictors of digital innovation in this industry. We consider the relative importance of key factors such as geographic and within-firm capabilities and the role of financial resources. We find that location in a region of concentrated expertise and prior firm commercialization experience reinforce one another in predicting digital innovation. While venture capital funding appears to play a role in supporting innovative entrants, closer analysis suggests that this funding selects on other variables that predict digital innovation; in this regulated industry, financial resources do not substitute for existing capabilities. We conclude that incumbent firms have an advantage in innovating in this setting.

    Keywords: Technological Innovation; Software; Market Entry and Exit; Product Development; Experience and Expertise; Medical Devices and Supplies Industry;


    Foroughi, Cirrus, and Ariel Dora Stern. "Digital Innovation with High Costs of Entry: Evidence from Software-Driven Medical Devices." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 18-094, March 2018.  View Details