The Importance of the Founder on the Success of a Start-Up

Manuel Ercolini & Matteo Marcucci

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis focuses on the persona of the founder as a critical element on the success of a startup during the first few years on the market. More specifically, it analyses how the founder can act to achieve a competitive advantage even in the situation of saturated market. This paper provides a case study of Østerberg Ice Cream, a company that produces a healthy and innovative ice cream, in Copenhagen. The authors firstly focus on the persona of the founder and his or her collaboration with universities and lead users. Then there is an examination of the ice cream market using Porter’s five forces analysis and the SWOT analysis. Consequently, the authors discuss the type of product innovation based on the two dimensions of market and knowledge. In the end, the authors analyse the competitive advantage through Porter’s (1985) and Barney’s (1991) approaches. The results suggest that the knowledge of the founder is the main element that allows the company to achieve a competitive advantage in a saturated market through the offer of an innovative product. With this master thesis, the authors aim to provide findings that have an external validity and can be valuable for other industries.

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages106
SupervisorsGiulio Zichella