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Acquiring the first customer for newly formed academic spin offs
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management, Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management.
2012 (English)MasteroppgaveStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Purpose-Getting the first customer for an academic spin off is usually difficult ,as the company formed is yet to build a market reputation for themselves .Also the spin off suffers from lack of trust as it is basically in a nebulous stage .Now the academic spin offs formed usually has a member associated with a university or a research organization and brings in along with them oodles of experience .Now the combined experience of all the members gives the organization and already established social network ,social network enriched with information and resources So what the first part of the thesis looks into is how spin offs actually utilize this social network to reach their first customer .The study is performed in respect to the trust build with all the players of the network and how information is processed in the network .The second part looks into is after they get their first customer how does the spin off utilize their first customer to improve their product so that they have to do less customization of their product for the second customer, but care should also be taken that over customization for their first customer would actually lead into a lock in effect with their first customer making their product for their second customer irrelevant. Now it also looks into the fact that how the relationship formed with the first customer in respect to trust gained while receiving feedbacks about their product and incentives offered by the company to the first customer helps the company being referred to the second customer. Design/Methodology-The empirical research was carried out with interviews done with spin off companies from Norway, Switzerland, Sweden and Belgium the reason for choosing them was they have been placed very high in the innovation index. After the interviews were done they were mapped against four different archetypes formed on the basis of two dimensions, the social networking orientation and the first customer orientation of the company. After mapping the business models followed by companies the model which performed the best was taken and accordingly a hypothesis was made. Findings-The cross case analysis performed presents the different business models in practice , the nature of the study being exploratory in nature a firm conclusion on which business model is the best practice is a bit difficult to make. For that to happen a very intensive and rigorous quantitative study is necessary .The proposition made here is that the spin off with a high social network orientation and high level of involvement with the first customer tends to be more successful in launching their company Practical Implication-The successfulness of a spin off and the model followed by them can serve as a guidance for future entrepreneurs trying to launch their business .So the study of the different business models specially during the initial seed stage of any start up is important ,when the survival of the company is of main concern . Keywords: Academic spin offs, Social Network theory, Entrepreneurial marketing ,Relationship Marketing

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutt for industriell økonomi og teknologiledelse , 2012. , 129 p.
URN: urn:nbn:no:ntnu:diva-21077Local ID: ntnudaim:8066OAI: diva2:629201
Available from: 2013-06-16 Created: 2013-06-16 Last updated: 2013-06-22Bibliographically approved

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