Patent-based investment funds: from invention to innovation
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In the context of entrepreneurial ecosystems the transformation of inventions to innovations is a crucial measure of success. Yet, the exploitation of inventions stemming from academic or corporate research is not as extensive as we would wish leaving room for improvements. Drawing on the knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship we investigate the phenomenon of patent-based investment funds as a new type of intermediary in the knowledge spillover process, which could facilitate the transformation from invention to innovation. Using a qualitative research design we analyze data from 21 expert interviews and complementary archival data. We find common characteristics of funds’ activities which decrease knowledge filters and fill the financing gap in the early stages of technology development. We propose a classification of commercialization strategies and link them to a specific set of invention characteristics. Our insights contribute to the knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship and to the knowledge filter model by providing empirical evidence for the division of labor between knowledge creator and commercialization agent. This adds to our view on entrepreneurial ecosystems as we shed light on different players in the transition process from invention to innovation and thus enhance our understanding of the multifaceted aspects in such an ecosystem. In addition, we refine the literature on patent-based investment funds by providing a classification of the entire commercialization spectrum used by funds and add to extant theorizing on how the nature of a technology determines its commercialization.
KeywordsPatent-based investment funds Technology intermediaries Knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship Invention characteristics
JEL ClassificationG23 M13 O32 O34
We owe special thanks to Prof. Reiner Braun who was of great help in developing the ideas for this paper and our work. Furthermore, this work wouldn’t have been possible without the openness of and fruitful conversation with our interview partners–we thank them for the time and insights they provided. Also, we would like to thank the anonymous reviewers who helped us to improve our manuscript to this status through thoughtful commenting and advice. Last but not least our thanks goes to the editors of this special issue for bringing forward a topic of importance and relevance with a strong link between research and practice.
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