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Which Tangible and Intangible Assets Matter for Innovation Speed in Start-Ups?

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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. The new product development (NPD) literature mainly focuses its attention on NPD processes in large firms. In this article insights on the antecedents on innovation speed in large firms are combined with resource-based theory and insights from the entrepreneurship literature to develop hypotheses concerning the antecedents of innovation speed in start-ups. In particular, tangible assets such as starting capital and the stage of product development at founding and intangible assets such as team tenure, experience of founders, and collaborations with third parties are considered as important antecedents for innovation speed in start-ups. A unique data set on research-based start-ups (RBSUs) was collected, and event-history analyses were used to test the hypotheses. The rich qualitative data on the individual companies are used to explain the statistical findings. This article shows that RBSUs differ significantly in their starting conditions. The impact of starting conditions on innovation speed differs between software and other companies. Although intuition suggests that start-ups that are further in the product development cycle at founding launch their first product faster, our data indicate that software firms starting with a beta version experience slower product launch. The amount of initial financing has no significant effect on innovation speed. 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 are associated with longer development times.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-07-01

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