Research Department: Dynamics of Economic Spaces
IRS Research Topic: Shared Knowledge - Locally and Over Distance
Project Leader within IRS: Andreas Kuebart
Duration: 10/2015 - 09/2018
The digital transition as one of the largest driving forces of change in contemporary economies offers unprecedented opportunities for newly created businesses. These however, increasingly grow not only through the disruptive spirit of lonesome entrepreneurs, but also rely on specialized expertise mobilized in dense local and trans-local communities, social capital that resides in strategic networks and accessibility of venture capital investments. During the last decade these developments have converged and materialized in so called seed accelerators. Seed Accelerators are permanent organizations, which run temporary programs during which portfolios of promising startup companies are created through sophisticated selection procedures. Subsequently the selected participants run through programs that seek to qualify the respective businesses by bringing together in time and space expertise as well as social and financial capital in order to create a local environment in which respective businesses can upscale in short time. This study aims to research seed accelerators from three different angles by focusing on (1) their potential to act as temporary places of liminality to change the development trajectories of startups, (2) the practices used to facilitate business model innovations and (3) the structures of the wider networks they maintain and build in order to induce growth. In short words: By taking the perspective of relational economic geography, the phenomenon of seed accelerators is studied through a spatial lens in order to reveal how knowledge distributed among several actors located at different places worldwide is mobilized and brought together in time and space to foster innovative business models.
The rapid spread of the concept of seed accelerators itself show the relevance of establishing new ventures for the digital age, while this topic has been missing on the radar of economic geography so far.