Lifespan of Startups

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Evanthia Vamvounaki
Recent years have seen a proliferation of nascent ventures, businesses that have been formed recently, while still experiencing a shortage of money and personnel. The unique typology of the so-called startups, revolves around loose structures and informal work-environment, focused in efficiently balancing the lack of funds, with their innovative products and services. Especially, when it comes to software startups, that deal with breakthrough technology, risk is inherent, and the tight budget often means prioritizing financial concerns over any identity building or marketing actions. This paper focuses on those crucial early stages of the venture’s building, giving the opportunity for deeper understanding on what appears to be an under-researched territory.
I conducted a qualitative study that sets out to explore the following research question:
“How do the early stages and the branding efforts affect the longevity of the startup?”
Through a Comparative Case study approach, and the undertake of qualitative, semi-structured interviews of three software startups, that are on different operational stages, I seek to understand the experiences of two founders and one employee. Not only to investigate their attempts on creating identity and culture for a firm and subsequently an identity for their products, but also how these processes have affected the startups’ trajectory. I believe that by interviewing an informant that holds a different position inside a nascent organization, it will provide a new critical angle on the research. The primary data will be complemented and triangulated through the subsequent study and contest of secondary data, in the form of examined company websites and a Facebook page.
In the theory part, relevant concepts were unfolded revolving around four subsections that cover the most important theoretical aspects of my research. Some of these concepts steer the analysis of my study, while others provided a necessary context for the reader of a rather complex and of scarce literature topic. From the entrepreneurship that precedes leadership, to the characteristics of startups; the organizational culture and identity to the brand identity itself. Branding and marketing efforts are explored, along with what that means in the context of startups. In addition, the difference between branding and marketing is explained with the first representing the strategy and the latter the tactical efforts of an organization; practices that are often seen as interchangeable but, hold different roles.
At last, the findings are discussed by comparing the cases against each other and an answer to the research question is presented, along with further methodological reflections.  
Publication date15 Apr 2020
Number of pages86
External collaboratorClappy
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Kobra Skin
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ID: 330943407