Massimo G. Colombo, Luca Grilli, Evila Piva

The Alliances of New-Technology Based Firms: the Role of Sponsors

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Market Structure, Alliances, Technologies Developments

Why do new technology-based firms (NTBFs) cooperate? Starting from the literature on alliance formation in the resource and competence-based tradition, we derive an empirical model that aims at highlighting the drivers of the formation of alliances by NTBFs. In particular, we focus on the effects of the support provided by sponsor institutions on the probability to establish "exploitative commercial" alliances and "explorative technological" alliances. The conceptual model leads to a series of theoretical hypotheses. These hypotheses are tested through econometric estimates, based on a sample of more than 500 Italian NTBFs that are observed from 1994 to 2003. On the one hand, the estimates show that the "combination of specialized complementary assets" appears to be a key driver of the formation of alliances by NTBFs. On the other hand, the analysis indicates that potentially beneficial alliances may not take place because of the high transaction costs faced by smaller NTBFs. Sponsor institutions as public research organizations, venture and corporate venture capitalists may sensibly reduce these costs. In this respect, our results clearly support the view that the role of these organizations crucially depends on both the identity of the sponsor and the type of alliance.

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