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Does the business model canvas drive venture success?

Ted Ladd (Hult International Business School, San Francisco, California, USA)

Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1471-5201

Article publication date: 26 March 2018

Issue publication date: 12 July 2018




The purpose of this paper is to explore the efficacy of Osterwalder and Pigneur’s Business Model Canvas for 271 teams competing in a venture pitch competition during a cleantech accelerator program.


It uses competition results and data from a website used by participants to track their hypothesis construction and testing.


Teams that used the elements of customer segment, value proposition, key activities or key partnerships performed significantly better in the competition. Yet of all nine elements in the Canvas, only customer segmentation showed a significant linear bivariate correlation between the number of validated hypotheses and performance. Finally, teams that heavily used a triumvirate of elements composed of customer segmentation, value proposition and channel performed two times better than teams that barely used these elements.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this exploratory analysis imply that the components of a business model that explain and predict early success might be different than those for a more mature firm.

Practical implications

These results suggest that practitioners could improve early performance by narrowing their scrutiny to just the triumvirate, because the Canvas may contain components that are unhelpful for entrepreneurs as they form a business model for their nascent venture.


This paper fills a gap by empirically testing the prediction that application of the Business Model Canvas drives venture success and providing a revise definition for a business model that is more appropriate for start-up ventures.



Ladd, T. (2018), "Does the business model canvas drive venture success?", Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 57-69.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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