Venture Capitalist and Start-Up Cooperation – a Case Study About Market Orientation and Radical Innovation

Eero Kilpi

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph


The overall purpose of this multiple case study with two venture capitalists (VCs) and two start-ups (SUs) is to explore and to understand how venture capitalists and start-ups cooperate and how cooperation 1) between venture capitalists and start-ups and 2) between start-ups, affect start-ups’ market orientation in the context of radical innovations. Among other contributions this study gives attention to the changes that VC-SU cooperation can cause in SUs business opportunity. It brings an inter-company aspect to the discussion of market-orientation and its role on new product success. Further, it adds to the new product development discussion and comes up with a tool for practitioners, where traditionally tangible and operational tools have been scarce. In the studied VC/SU relationships participants saw cooperation less as an opening for learning from other organizations. Further, investors and start-ups had clear-cut individual roles and particularly start-ups felt where investors should stand. Finally, it became very obvious from the start that the kind of trust and commitment that repeatedly shows up in knowledge management literature as a prerequisite for new knowledge creation didn’t take place in the same manner in the studied VC/SU relationships. I suggest an inter-organizational coordination function and with elements of cooperation and marketing tools I come with a market identification workshop model that is organizing according to the principles of knowledge management’s SECI process. I further suggest an independent integrator job description of a market intelligence officer to run the market identification workshop. It includes the evaluation of where every SU is along the line to commercial success with their product, market intelligence and strategy. In order to achieve this knowledge vision is needed to be able to work on the assets that different SUs have. VCs would have to reach beyond ensuring that the “right” management team is in place, to distinguishing if the SU organizations are equipped with suitable competencies to master how to fulfill the needs that an evolving new marketplace needs.
Translated title of the contributionVenturekapitalisti ja startup yhteistyö - casetutkimus markkinaorientoituneisuudesta ja radikaali-innovaatioista
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Möller, Kristian, Supervising Professor
  • Anttila, Mai, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-5664-7
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-5665-4
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)


  • venture capitalism
  • radical innovation
  • market orientation


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