The launch of the first product is an important event for start-ups, because it takes the new venture closer to growth, profitability and financial independence. However, entrepreneurship literature lacks theory and data on new product development and innovation speed. Integrating insights form new product development literature with resource-based theory, we construct a conceptual framework concerning the antecedents of innovation speed in start-ups. In particular, we argue that pre-founding R&D efforts and intangible assets such as team tenure, experience of founders, and collaborations with third parties are important for innovation speed. We collected a unique dataset on 99 research-based start-ups (RBSUs) and use an event-history approach to test our model. We find that RBSUs differ significantly in their starting conditions and that these differences have a significant effect on the time it takes to launch the first product. The impact of starting conditions on innovation speed differs however between software, medical-related, telecom and other technologies. Although intuition suggests that start-ups that are further in the product development cycle at founding launch their first product faster, we find that software firms starting with a beta-version experience slower product launch. Next, it is shown that team tenure and experience of founders leads to faster product launch. Contrary to expectations, alliances with other firms do not significantly affect innovation speed and collaborations with universities lead to longer development times. The insights of this study enhance our understanding of product development processes in start-ups and the differences between slow growers and fast growers. Keywords: Intangible assets, New Product Development and Start-Ups
Heirman, Ans; Clarysse, Bart; Van Den Haute, Vicky (2003)
We study the starting resources of start-ups, which develop and market new products or services based upon a proprietary technology or skill. We define these companies as researchbased start-ups (RBSUs). We look at how technological, financial and human resources at founding cluster together to form different starting resource configurations. Using a unique hand-collected dataset of RBSUs in Belgium, we find four different types of starting configurations: “Venture Capital-backed start-ups,” “Prospectors,” “Product start-ups” and “Transitional start-ups”. This study shows that these different types of starting resource configurations are not only empirically distinct but can also be conceptually explained by internal factors such as the entrepreneurial orientation at start-up and external factors such as the origin of the firm and the characteristics of the industry in which the firm competes.
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