A Theory of New Venture Evolution: Technology-Market Search in New Ventures.

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Imperial College Business School

Abstract

Due to high degrees of uncertainty (Utterback, 1987; Chesbrough, 2003), new technology-based ventures (NTBVs) need up to multiple years and often multiple attempts to find a viable market-technology match (Clarysse & Moray, 2004). Despite its prominent strategic role in the nascent firm's evolution (Boeker, 1989), this market-technology search is one of the least understood types of organizational learning (Helfat and Lieberman 2002). This PhD proposal aims to contribute to our understanding of new venture evolution by building on and speaking to existing theories of organizational search (Levinthal & Posen, 2007) and adaptation (Stoica & Schindehutte 1999).
My PhD will focus on two sides of new venture evolution. First, the research study will focus on (1) How these NTBVs advance from a pre-mature market-technology idea (pre-founding) to a well-tested, feasible and viable market-technology fit, (2) How NTBVs manage to abandon a chosen market-technology path and move to a new market-technology path and (3) What are the antecedents to market-technology changes / What enables these market-technology adaptations. Second, the research will also look at the side of the venture development organization (VDO) and investigate how accelerators as a new generation of VDOs (can) help NTBVs in their venture evolution.

NTBVs often struggle to identify a viable technology-market opportunity. Compared to new non-technology-based ventures, NTBVs experience high degrees of uncertainty (Utterback, 1987; Chesbrough, 2003) as the outcomes of NTBVs' opportunity development activities are highly unpredictable (Knight, 1921). As such, most of the strategic choices that an NTBV makes pre-founding have to be re-evaluated or even abandoned later on (Drucker, 1985; Stoica & Schindehutte 1999; Andries et al., 2006). Not surprisingly, NTBVs often need up to multiple years after start-up to find a match or 'fit' between the strategic variables mutually and between the business concept and its environment (Clarysse & Moray, 2004).This study wants to unravel the processes of the technology-market search and contribute to our understanding of how NTBVs reach technology-market fit in nascent technological spaces. This kind of search is one of the least understood types of organizational learning (Helfat and Lieberman 2002) even though the chosen market opportunity deeply imprints the nascent firm's future trajectory, such as its identity, its structure, and the capabilities and assets it needs to develop (Boeker, 1989). The research study will focus on how these NTBVs capture new market and technology information and how their search process advances from a pre-mature market-technology idea (pre-founding) to a well-tested, feasible and viable market-technology fit by (1) unravelling the iterative process of market search and technology search, (2) looking at whether and how these search processes are implemented in the organizational structure and (3) how the recruitment and allocation of resources within the organization co-evolve with and influence the technology-market search process.
The above questions will be investigated in the new technological field of nanocrystal quantum dots (QDs). A QD is a nano-crystal semiconductor particle made of compound semiconductive material such as Cadmium Selenide or Cadmium Sulfide. Because nano-crystals are so small (2-10 nm), they become "quantized" and their optoelectronic properties change as a function of both size and shape. Quantum dots glow by stimulation through electricity or ultraviolet light. Their applications range from displays and lighting over biological imaging and labelling to photovoltaic cells and thermoelectric energy.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509486/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1867992 Studentship EP/N509486/1 01/10/2016 31/03/2020 Laurens Vandeweghe