Academic Entrepreneurship

Academic Entrepreneurship

University Spinoffs and Wealth Creation

New Horizons in Entrepreneurship series

Scott Shane

In this unique and timely volume, Scott Shane systematically explains the formation of university spinoff companies and their role in the commercialization of university technology and wealth creation in the United States and elsewhere. The importance of university spinoff activity is discussed and the historical development of university spinoff ventures is traced over time.

Chapter 8: The Role of People in University Spinoffs

Scott Shane

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, management and universities, education, management and universities


University spinoffs do not form spontaneously, but take place in response to the actions of enterprising individuals who decide that university technology is worthy of exploitation through the formation of new companies. This chapter explores the role of people in the university spinoff process. The first section of the chapter discusses the importance of inventors in the decision to create a spinoff, whether or not the inventor is the entrepreneur who leads the effort to found the new firm. The second section of the chapter distinguishes between different types of spinoffs as a function of the different people who lead the efforts to found new firms: those spinoffs whose formation is led by inventors, those spinoffs whose founding is led by external entrepreneurs and those spinoffs whose formation is led by investors. Although external entrepreneurs and investors are important actors who drive the firm formation process, accounting for the founding of more than half of all university spinoffs, almost all the research on the role of people in university spinoffs has focused on inventor–entrepreneurs. For that reason, the remainder of the chapter focuses on inventors who lead the efforts to found spinoffs. The third section of the chapter discusses the role of the inventor in the decision to create inventor-founded spinoffs. The fourth section of the chapter discusses the effect of different inventor attributes on the likelihood that university spinoffs will be founded. Specifically, it considers the role of the inventors’ motivations and career experience in the spinoff formation...

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