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Lean startup for opportunity exploitation: adoption constraints and strategies in technology new ventures

Diego Souza Silva (Department of Industrial Engineering, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil)
Antonio Ghezzi (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy)
Rafael Barbosa de Aguiar (Postgraduate Program in Public Policy, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil)
Marcelo Nogueira Cortimiglia (Department of Industrial Engineering, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil)
Carla Schwengber ten Caten (Department of Industrial Engineering, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 8 March 2021

Issue publication date: 27 May 2021

Abstract

Purpose

Most studies investigating the adoption of lean startup (LS) practices by technology new ventures focus on software startups in mature entrepreneurial ecosystems and disregard their applicability for opportunity exploitation in other technological backgrounds. This study contributes to this research stream by exploring how Brazilian technology new ventures (in different technological fields) tentatively adopt LS to exploit opportunities and whether LS is suitable to their emerging economy context.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors adopt an exploratory multiple-case study based on qualitative data collection and analysis of nine Brazilian biotechnology, engineering and software startups.

Findings

The study shows how technology new ventures tackle the activities of opportunity exploitation – namely, developing a product or service, acquiring human resources, gathering financial resources and setting up the organization – by leveraging LS tools and practices for business model validation; also, it identifies six contextual constraints hindering the systematic adoption of LS and reveals how technology new ventures cope with such constraints in their early stages by integrating LS with complementary strategies and practices. Furthermore, the study reveals that the systematic and comprehensive adoption of LS nurtures the development of an entrepreneurial experimental capability to explore opportunities in a quasi-scientific and hypothesis-driven fashion.

Originality/value

The study investigates how Brazilian engineering, biotechnology and software startups exploit opportunities and overcome constraints to business model validation through the combined adoption of LS and complementary strategies and practices and provides a set of propositions to guide future research.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Professor Donald F. Kuratko for his valuable insights on a previous draft of this research. Thanks also to professors Paul Jones and Lois Shelton for the support during the submission and revision processes and the two anonymous referees for the developmental suggestions, imperative for the refinement of the paper. The first author would also like to thank the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the Research Coordination of the Brazilian Ministry of Education (CAPES) for the financial support received throughout this research.

Citation

Silva, D.S., Ghezzi, A., Aguiar, R.B.d., Cortimiglia, M.N. and ten Caten, C.S. (2021), "Lean startup for opportunity exploitation: adoption constraints and strategies in technology new ventures", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 944-969. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-01-2020-0030

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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