Research-experienced technology startups succeed internationally more quickly, a survey reveals.

The main years are the most significant ones for innovation in new companies. They need to get a foothold in the international market, establish a name for themselves, and do so as soon as possible. The same is true for businesses that were established at a research institution like a university.

According to Prof. Dr. Achim Walter of the Kiel Institute for Responsible Innovation (KIRI) at Kiel University, “on average, academic spin-offs need about three years to achieve their first international sales.” At first glance, that doesn’t sound like much. Yet, you need to remember that the underlying time frame without dependable client requests is a major stress on the new organization.”

He has observed the growth of 163 academic spin-offs over an 18-year period with his coworker Dr. Monika Sienknecht and partners from Copenhagen Business School and Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada. The study’s findings have recently been published in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice.

“The study’s findings complement the CAU’s objective of stepping up its spin-off support initiatives. They demonstrate how, with their above-average development, start-ups from the scientific and academic communities may significantly contribute to economic growth in Schleswig-Holstein.

 Axel Koch, Head of the Transfer Department at the CAU.

A time advantage is provided by cooperative research project experience. In 2005, the researchers began by evaluating career data from 487 founders and conducting initial surveys. The study’s findings are summed up by Professor Walter as follows: “Start-up teams whose members gained cooperation experience with more than six industrial partners or with more than two international researchers during their time at a research institution reduce the time until the first foreign turnover by more than half.” Side projects with this collaboration experience during the examination time frame consequently make quicker worldwide progress.

Doctoral students founded the majority of spin-offs. “If these are designed cooperatively, they already acquire valuable skills for the early and successful internationalization of their later spin-offs,” says Professor Walter.

Because of this, they are able to significantly accelerate the internationalization of their business operations. For the offer of imaginative items in view of what the most recent exploration has brought about specifically, it is vital to rapidly get some sort of ‘confirmation of idea’ from clients abroad.”

“The study’s findings support the CAU’s strategy of increasing support for spin-offs.” “They show that new companies from science and the scholarly world specifically can make a significant commitment to financial development in Schleswig-Holstein with their better than expected advancement,” says Axel Koch, Top of the Exchange Division at the CAU.

One of the studied spin-offs, ibidi GmbH, is based in Munich and produces tech solutions for visualizing cell movements. Internationalization is very important for many start-ups. It was significant as far as we were concerned to supply to the U.S. as fast as conceivable [after establishing in 2001]. At first, it was difficult to sell anything in Germany. A common proverb states that a prophet lacks national honor. Customers in Germany, on the other hand, are extremely wary of novel products. “People were more curious and wanted to learn from us in the U.S.,” says Dr. Valentin Kahl, CEO of ibidi, which now has nearly 110 employees and is present in over 40 nations.

The study also demonstrates that academic spin-offs in this nation have good chances of remaining in the market due to their primarily research-driven experience. Once established, academic spin-offs frequently succeed. 106 of the 163 businesses (about 10 of them) were acquired by other businesses (approximately 65 percent) during the study period. 6% of the total).

Only roughly 47 remained on the market. 29 percent Global investigations likewise confirm an exceptionally high endurance rate for scholarly side projects, which can reach 80% or higher inside the initial five years. In contrast, according to the Federal Statistical Office, the start-up survival rate in Germany is approximately 37% after five years. Wiesbaden, 2022, according to the business register, business population

“The prospects for scientists’ careers are greatly improved by these findings. They demonstrate that a career in science provides favorable conditions for success in this field as well. Dr. Gesche Braker, Director of the Postdoc Center at the CAU, explains, “The fact that this is especially true if the qualification phases have provided the students with their own international and intercultural experience is an important aspect for the career counseling services at the Postdoc Center, which we will also consider in the future.”

One advantage of academic spin-offs is that they are frequently launched using the most recent technology and funding. Also, most of the time, the start-up is well planned, not out of a bad starting position but after more than a year of intense preparation, including a thorough market analysis. Scientists at the CAU who want to take this step and move in this direction are advised to do so by the Center for Entrepreneurship (ZfE), which is part of the Transfer Department.

More information: Achim Walter et al, Leveraging the Lab: How Pre-Founding R&D Collaboration Influences the Internationalization Timing of Academic Spin-Offs, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice (2022). DOI: 10.1177/10422587221141678

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