Entrepreneurial Origin, Technological Knowledge and the Growth of Spin-off Companies
We contribute to the literature on corporate spin-offs and university spin-offs by exploring how different characteristics in the technological knowledge base at start-up influence spin-off performance. We investigate how the technological knowledge characteristics endowed at start-up predict growth, taking into account whether the knowledge / technology is transferred from a corporation or university. We use a novel, hand-collected dataset involving 48 corporate and 73 university spin-offs, comprising the population of spin-offs in Flanders during 1991-2002. We find corporate spin-offs grow most if they start with a specific narrow-focused technology sufficiently distinct from the technical knowledge base of the parent company and which is tacit. University spin-offs benefit from a broad technology which is transferred to the spin-off. Novelty of the technical knowledge does not play a role in corporate spin-offs, but has a negative impact in university spin-offs unless universities have an experienced technology transfer office to support the spin-off.
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