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Title: Crossing the Valley of Death : exploring commercialization of food startups in Switzerland
Authors : Koch, Meinrad
Advisors / Reviewers : Hühn, Tilo
Müller, Adrian W.
Extent : 66
Publisher / Ed. Institution : ZHAW Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften
Issue Date: 2017
License (according to publishing contract) : Not specified
Language : English
Subjects : Valley of Death; Food; Emotional Intelligence; Kapital; Timing; Startup; Self-Regulation; Motivation; Mountain of Death
Subject (DDC) : 338: Production
Abstract: In the present literature, the Valley of Death is described as a financial gap between basic research/invention and the commercialization of a process or product/innovation. Negative cash flow in the early stages of a startup needs to be covered. Startups and companies struggle to successfully overcome this hurdle whereby most do not get out of this chasm alive. Existence of the Valley of Death within the Swiss food sector has not yet been proved empirically. In case of existence, little is known how to overcome this challenge as a startup. The aim of this study was to assess the existence and effect of the Valley of Death on startups within the Swiss food sector in order to better understand the conditions underpinning when going through the Valley of Death. A holistic understanding about its dynamics is created. Therefore, a total of 25 interviews with Swiss food startups (10), mentors (5), investors (5) and transfer offices (5) were executed. Data include explorative interviews with individual opinions and personal values, for which no standardized questionnaire currently exists. Transcribed interviews were analyzed with the MAXQDA software. For the code creation process, the mixed method was applied. The results indicate the existence of the Valley of Death in the Swiss food startup sector. Personality characteristics in terms of emotional intelligence are largely responsible for successfully or non-successfully passing the Valley of Death. Within emotional intelligence, motivation and self-regulation of the entrepreneurs involved in a startup are key drivers. Moreover, the startup culture in Switzerland is limited, inhibiting progress of food startups. Besides timing, finances remain to be a crucial factor in successfully overcoming the Valley of Death. Based on the results, a new term – the Mountain of Death – for Swiss food startups was introduced. It represents an alternative view of the current hurdles a food startup faces in Switzerland. Additionally, recommendations about how food startups best deal with several bottle-necks within the Valley of Death/Mountain of Death phase are extracted and summarized within a guideline. Although this phenomenon remains to be a complex issue and is subject to further investigations, the application of the created guideline should minimize the impact on food startups so that promising ideas are turned into profitable, commercial applications.
Departement: Life Sciences und Facility Management
Publication type: Master Thesis
DOI : 10.21256/zhaw-2058
Appears in Collections:Masterarbeiten Life Sciences

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