The opinion that academic spin-out firms face greater difficulties to gain financial support from venture capital firms, is a well-spread “fact” among both practitioners and policymakers and is also supported by some research results reported in the scientific literature.
We can find several possible reasons for this, many of them being mentioned and investigated in previous research. One stream of research focus on the high risks involved in new ventures with origin in academic research (Wright et al, 2006), one being the technological nature of academic new ventures and is founded in the uncertainties that the new technology will fail to fulfil the promised features. Another is often called the market risk, and focuses on the difficulties for the new venture to find a market which is big enough to develop the new venture into a viable business. A third risk is the mismatch between the state of development of the venture and the expectations and resources provided by support actors, one of which being venture capitalists (Lindström & Olofsson, 200X). By this type of risk we mainly mean the lack of commercial skills in the venture team on the one hand, and the low grade of commercial development of the venture project on the other.
We can also identify a fourth category of risks, or problems, involved in academic spinoffs which are of a slightly different character than the previous. Here we are more concerned with individual or person-to-person level aspects of the relations between the academic venture team and their outside financiers, but also on attitudes – on both sides – towards the counterpart in a new venture project relation.