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Bart Clarysse @ EPFL 

Date: 23rd May 2016

Understanding the technology-to-market problem is of considerable importance to theoretically understand the process of new venture creation. Whereas the entrepreneurship literature studies how founders’ prior knowledge leads to the identification of potential market applications prior to entry, the popular literature on start-ups shows that new ventures search for markets till long after their date of founding. This study builds upon and extends insights from organizational search literature (which typically focuses on large companies and technology search) to investigate how new technology ventures search for viable market applications for their technology. To disentangle this puzzle, we performed a multi-case analysis of five technology ventures which we follow early in their life time. We find that after startup, these ventures continue to search for markets but also have to engage in technology search to evaluate market alternatives. Whereas technology search takes the form of an algorithmic task, market search is heuristic in nature. We identify two different approaches to market search - targeted market search and technology broadcasting - each with a different capacity to identify a technology-to-market solution outside the venture’s knowledge base. Targeted market search implies that a market is identified and evaluated, while technology broadcasting means that technology is broadcasted to all interested parties.

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