Market Opportunity Identification in Emerging Technology Firms



A growing number of studies highlight the fact that new technology firms are an important source of innovation and wealth creation.  Before entrepreneurs can exploit the value inherent in their technological competences, however, they need to identify at least one market domain in which their technologies meet customer demand. However, due to limited prior knowledge of markets in which a technological competence may be valued, the identification of multiple market opportunities prior to the first entry appears to be fairly uncommon among nascent entrepreneurs. Shane (2000) shows that in a set of eight entrepreneurs who sought to commercialize a technology from MIT, none identified more than one market opportunity, though at least eight different markets existed. Intriguingly, these market opportunities offered highly diverging prospects for value creation. Hence, for an entrepreneur seeking to establish her new firm as a prospering economic entity, the failure to identify a major market opportunity prior to first entry may be particularly problematic
In this talk, I will report the results from a large-scale empirical study on VC-backed technology ventures that is investigating the fundamental organizational problem of technology-market linking. I focus on three inter-related research questions:
(1) Is there a performance differential between new technology ventures which identified a single vs. multiple market opportunities prior to first entry?
(2) Which human capital characteristics of the founding team are associated with multiple opportunity identification?
(3) Can the social network of emerging technology firms provide insights on market opportunities for new technologies, and if so, which types of actors in the social network are particularly helpful in this task?
The Erasmus - EIM - Panteia Entrepreneurship Lectures Series is co-organized by Erasmus Research Institute of Management ( and EIM Business & Policy Research (EIM/Panteia), an independent and international research and consultancy organisation, specialised in SMEs and Entrepreneurship. EIM is part of the Panteia group.
For more research resources visit our joint Entrepreneurship Research Portal
Contact information:
Andreas RauchIngrid Verheul