This chapter attempts to explain empirically the initial technological base for the spin-off new enterprise. A conceptual model is presented of a variety of hypothesized influences on the flow of technology from an advanced R&D source organization into a newly founded company. The measure used to assess the final technology transferred is a four-point scale of importance of the technology to the new firm: direct, partial, vague, and none. Evaluating the spin-offs with this measure generates a broad distribution of outcomes, but with perhaps half of the manifested technology transferred into about one-quarter of the new companies.
The results of the tests of the implicit hypotheses embodied in Figure 4-1 are synopsized in Table 4-12. Of the influences listed, only the negative effect of aging seems relatively weak in its impact.
Development-oriented work at the source organization, not research work, is the primary origin for most of the transferred technology. A double filter is in effect: More development-oriented individuals become entrepreneurs, and more development-oriented entrepreneurs transfer technology immediately into their own firms.
Greater exposure to the technological source through longer years of service at the labs leads more frequently to significant technology transfer to the new company. This effect is amplified if the entrepreneur starts his company on a moonlighting basis, working part-time in the new enterprise while continuing full-time in the source lab.
Personal ability to perceive, understand, and apply advanced technology, reflected in an advanced formal educational level, is supportive of entrepreneurial technology transfer, although some negative effects seem to be provided by Ph.D.-level education. Somewhat countering the positive influence of education is the weak but negative influence of an