The role of investors in developing academic spin offs: The biotech sector in South Africa

Southern African Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management

Field Value
Title The role of investors in developing academic spin offs: The biotech sector in South Africa
Creator S. Høvig, Øystein S. Høvig Pettersen, Inger B. Neethling, Adolph C. Paschal, Brandon Taxt, Randi E.
Subject academic spinoffs; investor role; biotech sector investors; university funds; technology transfer; entrepreneurial ecosystem; academic spin-off; commercialisation of research; biotech; South Africa
Description Background: While research on commercialisation of academic research suggests that close interaction among academic entrepreneurs, technology transfer officers and investors can aid developing academic spin-offs, we argue that the role of investors is underdeveloped in the literature.Aim: This paper aims to build new theoretical and empirical knowledge about the investor’s role in developing academic spin-offs. Focus is put on the interaction and dynamic relationship between investors, academic entrepreneurs and technology transfer office executives in academic spin-off (ASO) development.Setting: The research is empirical in nature and conducted in the entrepreneurial ecosystem surrounding universities in the Western Cape area in South Africa.Methods: The research is qualitative with a focus on conducting research interviews with knowledgeable respondents. Fourteen semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from investors and other stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Western Cape area in South Africa.Results: Four themes were uncovered. The study demonstrates a challenge of commercialising research-based inventions; both the team and the entrepreneur play an important role in the commercialisation process; investors can play a role in educating and coaching academic entrepreneurs and play a brokering role in attracting venture capital (VC) funding.Conclusion: The study concludes that the pre-investment behaviour of investors, in relationship with technology transfer offices (TTOs) and academic entrepreneurs, may help mitigate assumed information asymmetries and uncertainty in ASO development.Contribution: The research contributes to the literature by showing how investors’ perception, pre-investment behaviour and vision shape the development of ASOs in a dynamic interaction with technology transfer executives and academic entrepreneurs.
Publisher AOSIS Publishing
Contributor Funding by the Research Council of Norway
Date 2023-11-28
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — Interview based; semi-structured interview questionnaire
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/sajesbm.v15i1.738
Source The Southern African Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management; Vol 15, No 1 (2023); 11 pages 2071-3185 2522-7343
Language eng
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Coverage — 2022 Spin off ecosystem
Rights Copyright (c) 2023 Øystein S. Høvig, Inger B. Pettersen, Adolph C. Neethling, Brandon Paschal, Randi E. Taxt