Entry strategies in an emerging technology: a pilot web-based study of graphene firms
We explore pilot web-based methods to probe the strategies followed by new small and medium-sized technology-based firms as they seek to commercialize emerging technologies. Tracking and understanding the behavior of such early commercial entrants is not straightforward because smaller firms with limited resources do not always widely engage in readily visible and accessible activities such as publishing and patenting. However, many new firms, even if small, present information about themselves that is available online. Focusing on the early commercialization of novel graphene technologies, we introduce a “web scraping” approach to systematically capture information contained in the online web pages of a sample of small and medium-sized high technology graphene firms in the US, UK, and China. We analyze this information and devise measures that gauge how firm specialization in the target technology impacts overall market orientation. Three groups of graphene enterprises are identified which vary by their focus on product development, materials development, and integration into existing product portfolios. Country-level factors are important in understanding these early diverging commercial approaches in the nascent graphene market. We consider management and policy implications of our findings, and discuss the value, including strengths and weaknesses, of web scraping as an additional information source on enterprise strategies in emerging technologies.