The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 340–352 | Cite as

In search of the profit-maximizing actor: motivations and definitions of success from nascent academic entrepreneurs

  • Christopher S. HayterEmail author


Scholars have traditionally assumed the establishment and management of university spinoffs are guided by growth and the pursuit of profit. However, few studies have examined the motivations and post-establishment success definitions of entrepreneurs themselves. This paper seeks to contribute to our understanding of the mediating factors of academic entrepreneurship through an in-depth interview-based study of 74 nascent academic entrepreneurs. The results show that academic entrepreneurs define success in a number of complex, interrelated ways including technology diffusion, technology development, financial gain, public service and peer motivations, among others. Furthermore, a large percentage of the respondents have little immediate interest in growth and have instead established their firms to pursue other sources of development funding.


Entrepreneurship Technology transfer Economic development 

JEL Classification

033 Z13 



I am grateful to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation for their financial support of this research.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New York Academy of SciencesNew YorkUSA

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