Title: Revising the taxonomy of corporate accelerators: moving towards an evolutionary perspective

Authors: Philipp Veit; Alexander Kramer; Dominik Kanbach; Stephan Stubner

Addresses: HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, Jahnallee 59, 04109 Leipzig, Germany ' HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, Jahnallee 59, 04109 Leipzig, Germany ' HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, Jahnallee 59, 04109 Leipzig, Germany ' HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, Jahnallee 59, 04109 Leipzig, Germany

Abstract: Corporate accelerators have become integral actors in entrepreneurial ecosystems. They are heterogeneous and rapidly developing entities differing significantly in objectives and design. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive corporate accelerator taxonomy and present its evolution over time. We analyse the population of corporate accelerator programmes active in Germany in late 2019. Building on a unique dataset of 87 semi-structured interviews with managing directors of corporate accelerators, participating startups and corporate documents, we derive distinctive archetypes, differing in strategic objectives and defining characteristics. Based on this contemporary taxonomy, we discuss how corporate accelerators have evolved over recent years and delimit them to similar concepts such as incubators. Thereby, we contribute a holistic understanding of corporate accelerator commonalities and differences and provide the foundation for an evolutionary perspective to the field of corporate accelerator research. For entrepreneurial practice, we add novel insights on the experience-based learnings behind a considerable archetype evolution.

Keywords: corporate accelerator; accelerator taxonomy; accelerator evolution; corporate venturing; technology business incubation; startup assistance programmes.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEV.2021.10039348

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 2021 Vol.13 No.6, pp.568 - 599

Received: 24 Mar 2020
Accepted: 04 Feb 2021

Published online: 19 Jan 2022 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article