Academics

Der Incubator und Lehrstuhl für Unternehmertum und Existenzgründung II möchte Ihnen ebenfalls Einblicke in die akademischen Arbeiten verschaffen. Im folgenden finden Sie Kurzfassungen einiger Abschlussarbeiten, die von diesem Lehrstuhl beaufsichtigt wurden.

A Best Practice Guide for Starting an Online Business in Iran – Soheil Mirpour

This bachelor thesis is a first of its kind best practice guide for starting an online business in Iran. Based on interviews with top representatives of 15 best-in-class Iranian Internet companies, this study presents the main challenges and respective best practices for founders creating an Internet start-up in Iran. The main factors are categorized by reference to the five sources of uncertainty of entrepreneurial activity by Byers, Dorf, & Nelson (2011): Market, finances, organization and management, product and process, and regulation and legal.

The country of Iran has not only been dubbed a high-potential “Next Eleven” state and heir to the BRICs by Goldman Sachs’ Chief Economist Jim O’Neil, but is also widely considered to be the last untapped major e-commerce market in the world due to macroeconomic and demographic factors. Thus, the underlying topic bears significance beyond the scope of Iranian start-ups and touches the global e-commerce ecosystem as a whole.

Angel Investing in Germany

Angel Investing in Germany

This thesis provides an overview of the German angel investor landscape as well as a comprehensive guideline for the angel investment journey. Angel investors are typically the first professional providers of external venture capital for young startups. Often being entrepreneurs themselves, they provide both capital and their own expertise, network and know-how. Angel investors are equally motivated by financial considerations and their own passion for entrepreneurship. In order to minimize the tax burden, angel investors typically invest through a dedicated investment corporation with the legal forms of a GmbH or a UG. The foundation process for a GmbH or UG is clearly regulated and has a duration of around two weeks with associated costs between 500 and 1,000 EUR.

The easiest ways to discover promising potential investment targets are the use of the own professional network, the collaboration with experienced angel groups or the attendance of business plan competitions. For the evaluation of startups, the entrepreneurial founding team is the key decisive factor, in addition to market and product characteristics as well as sales projections. The combination of different quantitative and qualitative valuation techniques yields an approximation of the current financial valuation of the venture.

Angel investors assure sufficient control, information and veto rights as well as the long-term commitment of the founding team through thorough term sheet negotiations. During the investment time, angel investors observe and influence the development of the venture on a regular basis and strive towards a new financing round or a successful exit of the investment. The preferred method of exit is a full trade sale of the venture to a strategic investor as this method typically yields the highest return. Successful exits have to cover a significantly higher number of unsuccessful investments in the angel investor’s portfolio.

Foreign investments may be an attractive opportunity to increase the inflow of promising investment opportunities. However, double taxation treaties and bureaucracy can seriously harm the financial returns of foreign investments. Crowdinvesting is a relatively new phenomenon that opens the angel investing market to private investors with lower budgets and less experience. For professional angel investors, crowdinvesting is less attractive due to limited control rights.

Non-financial motivators of angel investors, the interplay of angel investors and incubators as well as the impact of the legal framework remain promising avenues for further research.

Gründung eines Venture Capital Fonds im Jahr 2015

Gründung eines Venture Capital Fonds im Jahr 2015 - Robin Müller

Diese Arbeit verschafft einen Überblick über die zentralen Fragestellungen rund um den Gründungsprozess einer (deutschen) Venture Capital Gesellschaft. Als komprimierter Leitfaden soll sie die Hintergründe und Prozesse bei der Entstehung von Venture Capital Fonds transparenter machen. Mit Hilfe einer umfangreichen Literaturrecherche und Experten-Befragungen werden im Rahmen dieser Arbeit zunächst fünf Meilensteine auf dem Weg zur Venture Capital-Gründung definiert und beleuchtet:

  • Motive & Team-Findung
  • Rechtliche & steuerliche Aspekte
  • Strategie & Investmentkriterien
  • Fundraising
  • Operations: Investing, Value Creation & Harvesting

Darüber hinaus werden 17 Experten aus der Venture Capital-Industrie zu Motiven einer Venture Capital Gründung, Fundraising, Netzwerk-Effekten und zwei aktuellen Trends empirisch befragt. Einer dieser Trends ist die zunehmende Allokation von Venture Capital in FinTech Startups. Die befragten Experten erwarten in den nächsten 1-2 Jahren einen weiteren Anstieg des Investitionsvolumens. Gleichzeitig wächst aber auch die Skepsis unter den befragten Experten und sie warnen vor einer Überhitzung des Themas.

Als weiterer Trend wurde die Spezialisierung von Venture Capital Gesellschaften auf einzelne Branchen, Regionen, Geschäftsmodelle, Technologien und Finanzierungsphasen untersucht sowie Vor- und Nachteile dieser Spezialisierung analysiert. Auch hier erwarten die Experten, dass der Trend anhalten und sich weiter verstärken wird.

How Do German Entrepreneurs Select Venture Capital Investors?

How Do German Entrepreneurs Select Venture Capital Investors? - An Empirical Analysis - Hannibal DuMont Schütte

The matching process of the venture capital-entrepreneur dyad has been subject of substantial research in the field of entrepreneurship. Yet only a very limited amount of literature has analyzed the process from the perspective of entrepreneurs. Using a handheld sample of 38 venture capital-backed startup firms, this study empirically examines how German entrepreneurs select their venture capital investors. I develop a comprehensive set of twenty-eight selection criteria, to subsequently determine the relative importance of each single factor and seven overarching categories in the entrepreneur’s selection process. I employ multiple linear regressions to model the influence of the heterogenetic nature of the entrepreneur on the importance of respective selection categories. Most notably, results advocate that entrepreneurs consider behavioral characteristics of the venture capitalist, precisely interpersonal compatibility and mutual vision, to be the primary selection criteria. Whereas the former is perceived as equally important irrespective of the entrepreneur’s characteristic, the latter is increasingly valued with experience in both, industry and new ventures. Financing conditions offered by the venture capitalist are found to be subordinate to these ‘soft’ factors. As such, I offer complementary evidence for recent research that has, from an entrepreneur’s standpoint, highlighted the importance of behavioral aspects within the dyad. Moreover, I shed further light on the heterogeneity among entrepreneurs backed by venture capitalists.

How Do Optimism and Self-Esteem Affect Entrepreneurial Success?

Entrepreneurs that are just starting out or that are in the early stages of their start-up are optimistic to overoptimistic and can be inclined to idealizing entrepreneurial activity. While they realize that starting a company often involves long hours and heavy workloads, the disadvantages are believed to pale in comparison to the benefits: Independence, financial rewards, and assertiveness are only three of the driving forces behind many entrepreneurs.

Yet the disparity between expectations and reality can come at a cost as well. The increased desire to achieve success at the expense of personal well-being, such as sleep or social interactions, increases entrepreneurial loneliness and stress. But because of the entrepreneurs’ inherent characteristics, this issue is seldom addressed, furthering the spiral. Moreover, the self-esteem of many entrepreneurs is directly related to the success of their venture, which can have negative consequences. These negative consequences are exasperated by the fact that many entrepreneurs feel compelled to feign that everything is going well, even though they are overburdened. In response to this disparity, some successful entrepreneurs have publicly discussed the struggles in an attempt to reduce the stigma.

Identifying winning strategies in the German venture capital industry

Identifying winning strategies in the German venture capital industry

In recent years, the fields of entrepreneurship and venture capital research have gained the attention of an increasing number of academic scholars around the world. While entrepreneurship research uses diverse definitions of startup success, the literature on venture capital clearly defines exit events as the primary measure. Among the entrepreneurship researchers, only few have engaged in the analysis of factors that contribute to exit success from a founder’s perspective. At the same time, a startup ecosystem has begun to develop in Germany, and Berlin has emerged as a central hub for innovation in Europe. Due to the novelty of this emerging economy, little academic literature has attempted to characterize the German startup industry. In the course of this study, I developed an extensive database of 294 German startup exits in the last five years, which is used to illustrate the emergence of the German startup industry. Additionally, the exits are analyzed across three overarching categories to derive practical implications for founders and venture capitalists. Further, the study is able to confirm some international findings for the German startup industry and to reject a few commonly held beliefs about venture capitalists and startups.

Impact Investing – A Special Source of Capital - Maximilian Eckel

The following bachelor thesis deals with the field of impact investing which represents a source of capital targeted towards social businesses and hybrid organizations. So far, most academic research on this topic has been focusing on the social impact and sustainability of impact investing and its attractiveness for investors. However, there are social businesses and hybrid organizations that aim on achieving market-rate returns and qualify for traditional fundraising methods like private equity. The question remained whether there are particular reasons why these ventures should opt for funding in the form of impact investing. The study structured and analyzed existing literature about the industry and about typical investment patterns with focus on the German market. The information gathered was reinterpreted to give relevant insights for potential investees. To identify opportunities for socially-motivated businesses, the study assessed the attractiveness of impact investing concerning capital availability and unique supporting factors. The analyzed records point towards a backlog of capital supply and the willingness of investors to make significant concessions to support a venture’s social mission. These findings suggest that impact investing provides a unique and beneficial source of capital to social businesses and hybrid organizations.

Prolonging Customer Lifetime in an Entrepreneurial Context -The concept of a mobile application striving for user loyalty - Marc Simon Beermann

The market for mobile applications grew enormously in the last decade and is said to grow even further. Mobile application thereby face several challenges. One of the most important factors for any mobile app is the “customer life time” of users. The customer lifetime in most of the available applications is between 2 and 7 month depending on the category. Compared to other customer-contact-channels this time is comparably short. Due to the fact that this topic is quite new for academic research, this paper attempts to transfer the best practices from other industries into the area of a mobile non-gaming application. Further this paper presents an exemplary concept of a mobile application that is optimized to create a long customer lifetime. Different methods to prolong customer lifetime and build a strong customer-product relationship from traditional industries are described, analyzed and transferred into the mobile industry. The information gathered were analyzed in a general context and are further used to build a business model for the mobile market. The resulting application enables its users to take over a child sponsorship without the need for monetary resources, solely with their smartphone. In order to gather the necessary information, an online-survey with 170 respondents from Germany was conducted as well as an overview of the most important academic sources has been drawn.

The paper leads to the conclusion, that for the area of mobile non-gaming applications a lot of “best practices” can be adapted from other industries and that, even though not all of the theoretical implications match the given exemplary business case, transferring the concept in a real life testing environment might yield a lot of interesting insights for the future of mobile application design.

Shining Bright Instead of Burning Out – An Entrepreneurial Approach to Improving Employee Well-being by Using Digital Technology – Vincent Osterloh

A continuously increasing number of employees suffers from work-related stress. However, the research field of positive psychology provides fundamental insights how people can shift from feeling stressed to flourishing. This study explores how entrepreneurs can use digital technology in combination with concepts of positive psychology in order to contribute to improving employee well-being. For this, an empirical exploration in the form of a qualitative content analysis was conducted. The findings indicate that family-owned companies could be the most attractive target group for startups offering digital health solutions. Furthermore, it was found that companies could save costs related to mental health by following a preventive health approach. Based on the findings, three digital business model concepts, which could change the way employers and employees cope with work-related stress were developed.

Start-ups in the Field of Artificial Intelligence - Johannes Kürsch

Artificial intelligence has become one of the most prominently discussed fields of technology in recent years: It has gained attention by press, thought leaders, investors, researchers and big companies alike. Significant success in research has built up optimism about new ways to approach artificial intelligence. Whereas pessimism about functionality of artificial intelligence technologies was prevailing for a long time, a general change of thinking has occurred. Consequences of powerful artificial intelligence technologies are believed to have the potential to solve big problems as well as to become too dangerous if progress in research will proceed uncontrolled. This change of thinking has significantly impacted entrepreneurial landscapes worldwide.

Whereas artificial intelligence was thought to be a field that requires investments only large institutions can finance, now progress in research, availability of computational power and availability of data have democratized opportunities to apply and commercialize artificial intelligence technologies. Start-ups have found ways to significantly advance fundamental technologies of different artificial intelligence subfields, as well as impacting whole industries by offering new disruptive products. Established companies have realized this change and the impact start-ups working with these technologies can have, and have started financing and acquiring them to gain strategic advantages.

The objective of the thesis is to give a general overview of start-ups in the field of artificial intelligence. Therefore, it introduces prevailing concepts of artificial intelligence as a foundation to understand products and technologies that classify start-ups of this field. Moreover, it intends to determine how history of artificial intelligence research led to the current situation and works out major drivers that enabled recent progress in this field. It aims at giving an understanding of the subfields artificial intelligence consists of, how start-ups advance these subfields, and how they commercialize technologies. Furthermore, it seeks to show how start-ups can impact certain industries, by applying artificial intelligence technologies in novel ways.

Success Factors and Best Practices of Israeli Startups

Success Factors and Best Practices of Israeli Startups - Kurosch Habibi

This Master’s thesis investigates Israeli startups for the purpose of identifying success factors and deriving best practices. In an exploratory study, primary evidence from interviews with 22 individuals associated with the Israeli startup scene is set in the context of pre- existing literature surrounding best practices of startups and the Israeli startup ecosystem. Various factors appear to contribute to the success of Israeli startups. A classification of these factors shows that both aspects related to the environment as well as startup-specific factors are noteworthy. With regard to the former category, it is particularly the role of public institutions, culture, the funding environment, military, and the connecting role of networks that constitute relevant influencing factors. With a view to the latter category, aspects related to the founders, opportunity, financing, product development, and internationalization appear to have significant influence. Hence, this study builds upon success factors of Israeli startups and previous literature in the field to derive best practices in these distinct domains. While each aspect on its own may not suffice to influence startup performance considerably, the study of Israeli startups indicates that in combination, these factors may enhance performance to a substantial degree. Lastly, I discuss potential limitations of this study and outline paths for future research. Consequently, this study may provide insights for academic researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, and policy-makers.

Sustainable Impact Investing

Sustainable Impact Investing

The world is facing severe social and environmental challenges. However, efforts from the public and philanthropic sector seem to be insufficient to solve them successfully. Impact investing, essentially referring to the placement of capital in social enterprises with the intention to generate a financial return, is increasingly recognized as a potential solution and has experienced tremendous growth in the past. The study at hand explores the nascent research field of impact investing with regards to opportunities and challenges for the future growth of the impact investing market. In order to do so, it draws on theoretical research and five expert interviews with interview partners from leading institutions in the field. The analysis in this study focuses on the issues of attracting more institutional investors to the marketplace and closing the capital gap for early-stage social enterprise. Furthermore, crowdfunding and venture philanthropy will be examined as promising sources of finance due to their great potential to overcome some of the challenges that early-stage social enterprises face when seeking financing. Based on the research findings, action proposals for practitioners and policy makers on how to deal with the opportunities and challenges are outlined. Particularly, the suitability of equity-based crowdfunding for social enterprises is evaluated in order to provide a decision-making guideline for social entrepreneurs who are contemplating which crowdfunding type to use for their venture.

The Pursuit of Happiness and Entrepreneurship: Can Positive Psychology Theory Promote a Better Understanding of Entrepreneurial Intention? – Sven Wissebach

Entrepreneurial Intention is a key concept in research on new business formation and entrepreneurship. However, the latest studies on Entrepreneurial Intention are missing the willingness to adopt novelty in questioning, theorizing, and testing. At the same time, Positive Psychology is an emerging field of research in the domain of cognitive science. Particularly because of its relative novelty, Positive Psychology has barely been transferred to other fields in research. The aim of this thesis is twofold: First, to deepen the theoretical foundation of Entrepreneurial Intention theory. Second, to provide a new avenue of research that examines a potential relationship between Entrepreneurial Intention and Positive Psychology theory. This thesis represents a qualitative study that builds on semi-structured, narrative interviews with eight actual and six nascent entrepreneurs from Germany, the United States, and the Philippines.

In the first part, this thesis seeks to advance the construct of Entrepreneurial Intention by investigating the impact of (1) motivation, goals, and emotions, (2) human capital and social capital, and (3) deep beliefs and critical development experiences on the formation of Entrepreneurial Intention. The thesis proposes an updated Entrepreneurial Intention Model, in which deep beliefs are the initial starting point for the formation of Entrepreneurial Intention.

In the second part, this thesis investigates the relationship between Positive Psychology and Entrepreneurial Intention theory. Research results show that Positive Psychology theory is able to explain the formation of EI by connecting Positive Psychology theory to the concepts of intrinsic motivation, superordinate goals, and deep beliefs. The thesis offers novel implications for the relationship between Positive Psychology and Entrepreneurial Intention, which future academic research could investigate in greater detail.

The Role of Positive Organizational Psychology in New Ventures - Jakob Schoroth

Jakob Schoroth's Master Thesis shows that the young scientific category of positive organizational psychology, embedded in positive psychology research, holds open promising paths for new ventures.

Deriving from the field of positive psychology, positive organizational psychology applies positivity to the work context and promises improved employee happiness and performance. In the context of new ventures, positive organizational psychology has a particular importance. Due to new ventures’ characteristics such as their small size and the dependence on employee commitment, positive psychological capacities, such as self-efficacy, hope, optimism and resiliency are crucial. Ten case studies underline this point and show that new ventures embrace positive organizational psychology concepts. Many positive organizational psychology concepts, which foster positive psychological capacities, are already widely applied in new ventures.