Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE credits
Context: Start-ups have recently emerged as an operational model for small and newly-founded firms globally. This increasing business acceptance is present within the European markets, as well as within the Greek. Researchers also complied to the ”commands” of the industry and startup research followed the same, to practice, increasing course. Although the increase in both research and practice is visible, and the fact that several start-up related topics are well-documented, the start-up literature still shows certain limitations that need to be answered.
Theory: This study performs an extensive review of the start-up literature, provides definitions and descriptions of key start-up characteristics, and identifies the main streams, and limitations of start-up research, as long as cases of actual start-ups within the Greek business reality.
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to provide insight on certain literature limitations by examining start-up customs towards collaboration and openness initiatives and activities. More in detail, the study aims to identify whether start-ups are able to collaborate (newness and smallness paradox), what is the extent (breadth and depth, partner variety, and collaboration content) of their collaboration and openness customs with different partners, but also the individual importance of specific partners, and the ways this importance changes through different phases of the start-up growth. Also, documented matters such as the determinants of collaborations and the internal organizational structure of start-ups towards openness and collaborations are also discussed.
Design/Methodology/Approach: A multiple-case study that follows the replication logic is performed. The study focuses on six Greek online start-ups, and extracts information initially from the websites of the firms, and then by interviewing one key employee in each start-up. The combined information from each case are cross-analysed so as behavioural patterns to emerge and conclusions to be drawn regarding start-up initiatives and activities towards collaboration and openness.
Findings: Start-ups are indeed able to collaborate and practice openness with external partners from the beginning, while the collaboration and openness is closely related to the desired outcome/collaboration content that fulfils a specific need. This desired outcome is connected to the extent – breadth and depth – of the collaboration, but also to the type of each partner. Thus, startups closely collaborate with few and selected partners of each kind (e.g. universities, supplies etc.), with the exception of customers and users. The collaboration with customers and users is wide and limited on their feedbacks due to their numbers. Customers, users, suppliers, innovation intermediaries, and universities were identified as the most important partners to start-ups. The importance of these partners is connected to the start-up growth lifecycle. Innovation intermediaries are the most important startup partners, while customers, users and suppliers are important from the stabilization phase and during the whole start-up lifecycle. Universities importance were not found to be clearly connected to the startup growth phases, but mostly to the collaboration content. Regarding the importance, some differences might occur amongst start-ups active in different industries. Those differences are industry specific and affect how and when each start-up collaborates with different partners. Finally, this study confirmed the propositions of previous studies regarding the determinants and internal organizational structure towards collaboration and openness with external partners.
Research limitations and implications: Although the present study shows a set of limitations mostly regarding the number and distribution of the cases, it is the authors’ belief that it also shows a set of theoretical and practical implications. It provides managers and researchers with findings on uncharted territories in start-up literature, it connects its findings to prior start-up research, and provides insight on the almost undeveloped literature on Greek start-ups.
2015. , 76 p.
start-ups; collaboration; openness; partnerships; innovation; growth phases; lifecycle; Greece; Greek online start-ups; service; software
Management of logistics and innovation – master’s programme (one year) (swe or eng)