Drawing on social identity theory, we explore the identities, behaviors and actions of 49 firm founders in the sports-related equipment industry. Our analysis suggests the existence of three pure types of founder identities and shows how these identities systematically shape key decisions in the creation of new firms, thereby imprinting the start-ups with the founders’ distinct selfconcepts. We synthesize our findings in a typology that sheds light on the heterogeneity of meanings that founders associate with new firm creation and that improves our understanding as to why fundamental differences in firm creation processes and outcomes exist.