The Seven Principles of STAAI: A Missing Piece in the Danish Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Rasmus Bork Tingleff Bruun

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Context: assembling a coherent founding team for a startup is challenging. Technical cofounders are risk-averse, and few want to commit full time without a salary. If the startup tries to raise capital in order to attract a technical co-founder, they will have to match early stage investors’ investment-decision criteria of being an A-team. This automatically limits the number of Danish tech-startups being eligible to the investment, hence getting the necessary funding in order to proceed and ultimately succeed. Consequently, showing there is a mismatch between early stage investors and fundraising startups in the Danish entrepreneurial ecosystem. Moreover, little literature provides guidance on how inexperienced founders will be able to raise the necessary funding and in fact it seems as if the Danish ecosystem is in lack of a solution covering the mis-match. The objective of the thesis has been to conduct an ethnographic study, researching what limits inexperienced founders to raise funds the elements stimulating it. Methodologically, the researcher has applied an inductive research approach and explored the phenomenon, by gathering secondary data and performing 52 semi-structured interviews with actors in the Danish ecosystem: 9 venture capitalists, 8 business angels, 24 software engineers, 2 employees at accelerators / incubators and 9 non-technical entrepreneurs. By analysing the data, the researcher identified the main issue, namely the mis-match between early stage investors and inexperienced founders. This issue is stimulated by other limitations in the ecosystem: neglect of product-related effectuation processes, supportive organisations practicing incubation not excubation, startups lack of knowledge of investors investment-decision criteria and the challenge of assembling founding teams. In order to resolve these issues, the researcher identified seven principles which an ideal solution should satisfy. Conclusively, the researcher proposes the alternative investment method of STAAI (Software-team-as-an-investment) which is designed on the seven principles. The investment method will increase the number of startups getting funding and further entails the positive biproduct of more founders getting experience.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2021
Number of pages196
SupervisorsDaniel Hjorth