Academic journal article Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal

Commercialization Process of High Technology: A Study of Finnish University Spin-Off

Academic journal article Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal

Commercialization Process of High Technology: A Study of Finnish University Spin-Off

Article excerpt


To achieve a financial success from exploitation of intellectual property (IP), a proper commercialization method must be selected (European Union, IPR helpdesk, 2015). Likewise, for an enterprise to be successful, it must be able to select and employ an appropriate commercialization mechanism for its new technology (Aslani et al., 2015). One of the commercialization methods is the creation of a new venture or spin-off (Grimaldi et al., 2011; Vincett, 2010; Ndonzuau et al., 2002; Carayannis et al., 1998; Gbadegeshin, 2017a). This method is well discussed by the scholars (Mustar et al., 2006; Carayannis et al., 1998) and different terms are used for it (Seguí-Mas et al., 2016; Mustar et al., 2006; Carayannis et al., 1998). For examples, it is called: Academic/University Entrepreneurship (Chang et al., 2016; Walsh and Hsini, 2014; Farsi et al., 2014; Hewitt-Dundas, 2012; Lehner et al., 2009; Hoye and Pries, 2009), University Spin-Off (USO, Evers et al., 2016; O'Gorman et al., 2008; Pimay et al., 2003), Academic Spin Offs (Czarnitzki et al., 2014; Festel and Rittershaus, 2014; Rasmussen et al., 2006; Vohora et al., 2004; Shane and Stuart, 2002; Klofsten and Jones-Evans, 2000), Research-based Spin-offs (Mustar et al., 2006) and New Technology Based Firm (Mustar et al., 2006; Al Natsheh et al., 2013). The spin-off can be simply defined as an establishment of a new company purposely to utilize commercial benefit of research results, knowledge or technology, which emanated from an academic institution (Pimay et al., 2003), public research organizations (Helm et al., 2013; Mustar et al., 2006; Fontes, 2005) or parent organization (De Cleyn and Braet, 2009; Clarysse et al., 2002).

Consequently, there are numerous studies on the spin-off, but they focused on different aspects and looked at it from the different perspectives. For instance, some studies focused on the IP (e.g. Dahlstrand et al., 2015; Fini et al., 2010), roles of participants (e.g. Gubitta et al., 2016; Slavtchev and Göktepe-Hultén, 2016; Farsi et al., 2014; Fontes, 2005; Roberts and Malone, 1996), funding (e.g. Gubitta et al. 2016; Festel and Rittershaus, 2014), responsible and success factors (Farsi et al., 2014; Shakeel et al., 2017) and problems (e.g. Tanha et al., 2011; O'Gorman et al., 2008; Lerner, 2004; Smilor et al., 1990). Similarly, some studies examined previous academic works to frame research focuses on the topic (e.g. Seguí-Mas et al., 2016; O'Shea et al., 2014; Djokovic and Souitaris, 2008; Rothaermel et al., 2007; Mustar et al 2006; O'Shea et al., 2004; Pimay et al. 2003; Carayannis et al., 1998).

However, few studies have addressed commercialization process of the spin-off (SeguíMas et al., 2016) and how the new technology is transformed to a consumable product or service (Djokovic and Souitaris, 2008; Rothaermel et al., 2007). In fact, it would be interesting to investigate a specific practical phenomenon of the spin-off process with theoretical explanation (Djokovic and Souitaris, 2008). Therefore, there is a need for an in-depth knowledge of the commercialization process of spin-off, especially through analysis of case study (Evers et al., 2016) so that there would be a better understanding of how the spin-off develops iteratively over time (Mustar et al., 2006).

To fill the above gap and to provide practical insight, this article employed a case study method by providing details of the commercialization process of a high technology-based university spin-off (USO). This method used documentary/texts and observation research instruments. The findings of empirical study revealed that the USO commercialization process does not need to be stage-based. Similarly, the findings revealed the success factors for the USO commercialization process. The outcomes stated that flexibility of the USO commercialization process is essential and the commercialization team should bear in their mind that plan is always a plan.

Therefore, this article contributes to theoretical knowledge on USO commercialization because it revealed that stage-based model is rigid and cannot be a cap that fits all. …

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