We are currently working on two main research topics: entrepreneurship and innovation management.
Entrepreneurship: Our entrepreneurship research focuses on finding out why some newly found businesses are successful but a lot of them fail. At our Chair we focus on the financing of the new businesses. Therefore, we do research about venture capital and crowdinvesting as two different ways of financing. Furthermore, we look at why and how young companies internationalize and how the process is established. In addition, we analyze the role and impact of coaching for founders of new businesses.
Strategic Management in Early Stage Venture Capital Funds
In the early stage of the development of newly founded technology-based firms (NTBF) intensive non-financial support is often required in order to cope with the range of existing restrictions and risks. In this stage the additional value created by Venture Capital Funds (VCF) – apart from covering capital requirements – is mainly based on management support and a balanced risk management. So far, empirical academic studies of the early stage financing are mostly cross-sectional and look at a set of investments based just on the notion of the investment manager in charge. There is a lack of longitudinal studies more objectively considering the decisions and characteristics of a set of investments over time. TU Dresden and HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management are doing a combined research project to overcome these challenges. The newness of the examination rests on analyzing VCFs’ original deal documentation at the source and surveying investment managers and NTBF only regarding those pieces of information, which cannot be found in the VCFs’ files.
The project received external funds from the Savings Banks Finance Group (Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe) to support the research activites.
Risk Management in Early Stage Venture Capital Funds
Determining risk and weighing it against potential profits is one of the main tasks of a venture capitalist. Therefore, we analyze how certain risk factors influence the evaluation of a company. Also, we investigate which measures a VC can undertake to minimize the risk and which are most successful. Our empirical data base enables us to test the findings from the current literature and derive new hypotheses. Preliminary results were presented at the doctoral colloquium of the G-Forum 2012 in Potsdam. Our findings might help VC companies to better evaluate and manage their risk while investing. This might lead to more successful investments.
Internationalization of Hightech Startups
As part of this research project we conduct an analysis on the internationalization behavior of hightech companies in their early stage in Germany. Although Germany is one of the leading companies regarding the export of products, the internationalization rate of new ventures and SMEs in general is low. Our aim is to find out why. In our first survey we analyzed which resource factors hinder or foster the internationalization process using our empirical data set. Therefore, we focused on three areas: the role of the technology, the role of financing and the role of the entrepreneurial team. We were able to obtain new and interesting findings which were presented at the AMA Global Marketing Conference 2012 in Cancun, Mexico. The results will be published in the Thunderbird International Business Review in the end of 2013. Further publications are already planned.
Trust in Venture Capital Financing
An investment in a new venture is always based on trust. Although venture capital companies conduct a due diligence prior to the investment to evaluate the team and the business idea they also have to put their faith in them. Within the research project "Strategic management in early stage venture capital funds" we analyze how trust is build between the venture capital companies and the startup company in each investment phase. Thereby we focus on how trust is build prior to the investment and after the investment. We look at the dimensions of trust concerning team trust in the idea, concerning the integrity of the team and the benevolence of the investor.
Crowdinvestment as a New Financing Instrument for Startups
In the working paper we examine crowdinvesting as a new way to finance new ventures, which helps to close the early stage equity gap. This way of financing start-ups leaves us some questions: Is crowdinvesting able to finance new ventures in a sustainable way? Which risks and chances come along with it? Is the method able to establish itself as a basic instrument among others in the financing canon? We answer these questions by analyzing the different forms existing in Germany. To define crowdinvesting we first explain the antecedents of it - crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. Then, we present the central crowdinvesting platforms in Germany. Afterwards we discuss the use of crowdinvestment in the venture financing process and compare crowdinvesting with related financing methods. The paper closes with two discussions important for future research: first, the role of motivation and herding behavior and second, the role of trust with regard to the principal-agent problem.
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The Role of Coaching for Business Founders
Nascent entrepreneurs have a need for external expertise due to challenges in various management fields. At the same time the German market is providing manifold startup support, varying from counselling to coaching. In this project we explore the process of building entrepreneurial competencies with the aid of coaches and counsellors. The general research questions are how the entrepreneurial competencies are developed by coaching and which impact they have regarding the sustainable successful survival of companies. In an empirical study we focus on coaches and founders. These founders must not necessarily be very experienced in starting a business or have special managerial knowledge. By deepening the link between the development of dynamic capabilities to the entrepreneurial orientation of founders and coaches, we contribute to the recent research on the development of dynamic capabilities.
Advisory Boards in Startups
Since entrepreneurs might lack in sufficient capabilities and resources during the early phases of new ventures, the efficient utilization of external assets is critical. Besides coaches and consultants institutionalized boards can contribute to overcome entrepreneurial disadvantages of smallness, newness and adolescence or those weaknesses that come along with personal traits of entrepreneurial teams. Theory mainly focuses on boards of directors in (mature) family businesses. Only a few publications deal with advisory boards and virtually none with advisory boards in startups. We want to close this research gap, since those boards have a lot of advantages and first estimations claim that 10 to 20 percent of startups use it.
Innovation management: While innovative entrepreneurs can come up with new ideas and solutions for existing problems, the challenge for established companies is to manage the idea generation in a structured process. At our Chair we look at the innovation management in both entrepreneurial and established businesses, the internal and external drivers of innovation, innovative firm cultures as well as innovation networks (e.g. between universities and industry). The borders of innovation have changed and companies have discovered that they can use the innovation potential of customers, employees and partners. Therefore, we also do research on open innovation. In particular, we investigate how trust is established in the open innovation context and how employees can be integrated better into the innovation process.
Trust in Open Innovation
Open innovation emerged a number of properties in business relationships such as: decreasing barriers to innovation - building communities around key themes of innovation through increased involvement - widening the base for sources of new ideas from external specialists to users' involvement in design – networking smaller innovation communities – accelerating diffusion of ideas, etc. However, the realization of such properties requires certain trust mechanisms. A publication has been prepared in collaboration with an external researcher and is in the review process.
Innovation Management in Energy Businesses
Energy utilities had to cope with several changes, on the one hand caused by the market liberalization initiated by the EU legislation and on the other hand, more recently, by the technological change in energy supply from centralized fossil fuel technologies to decentralized, renewable energies. Several determinants such as the technological development, changes on the demand-side and regulation brought a need to adapt innovation. Seldom smaller utilities like municipalities introduced an institutionalized and systematic innovation management, while literature focused on macroeconomic perspectives of liberalization. Our goal is to contribute a business perspective through the analysis of innovation and change processes on the basis of several case studies of nationwide utilities, municipalities and international competitors. This allows us both to understand the drivers of innovation and the change strategies of these companies as well as best-practice examples and recommendations for management practice.
Universities as Drivers of Innovation
The R&D process has changed over many years, moving from technology-centered to a more interaction-focused and globalised view. On the other hand there has been a shift in the role of universities to become engines of innovation and entrepreneurial hubs. In a highly dynamic environment with new ideas, products, and services coming into the market every day, the role of universities is being reformed and companies have their own responses to that change. More research is needed to optimize the way in which both sides can best cooperate in the process of knowledge transfer for the welfare of global societies. The Deutsche Bank Stiftungsfonds Chair for Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship has published several articles on this current topic. In addition, several presentations were given.