Title: Soft starters, research boutiques and product-oriented firms: different business models for spin-off companies

Authors: Roland Helm, Oliver Mauroner

Addresses: University of Jena, 07743 Jena, Germany. ' Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF, 07745 Jena, Germany

Abstract: In the present study we investigate the business model dimension in the starting configuration of such companies, which refers to the degree of product orientation the company already has at its time of incorporation. We found three different types of business models. The first category consists of technical consulting firms and research boutiques and the second category includes start-ups with product-oriented attitude from day one. Finally in category three we group companies that start as consulting agencies, with the specific intention to become product-oriented companies, the so called |soft starters| or transitional start-ups (Heirman et al., 2003).

Keywords: soft starters; spin-off firms; technology transfer; product orientation; business models; research boutiques; technical consultancies; consultants; consulting agencies; transitional start-ups; Germany; universities; higher education; Ans Heirman; R&D; research and development; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; entrepreneurs; academic entrepreneurship.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2011.039687

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2011 Vol.12 No.4, pp.479 - 498

Published online: 14 Apr 2011 *

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