The age of digital entrepreneurship

  • Jean-Michel SahutEmail author
  • Luca Iandoli
  • Frédéric Teulon


Understanding the circumstances and reasons which facilitate digital entrepreneurship (DE) is of interest to academic research, and guides business practice, as well as public policies aiming at supporting this phenomenon given its positive impacts in terms of job creation and economic growth. We define some relevant concepts and briefly map current research using a perspective that focuses on the way digital entrepreneurs create digital value by acquiring, processing, and distributing digital information. Through the adoption of a digital information processing perspective, we provide a micro-level approach to research on digital entrepreneurship (DE) that complements existing literature on DE focused at the systemic level (digital entrepreneurship ecosystems and in the digital platforms economy). We show how these two approaches can be jointly used to identify major research streams on DE: digital business models, the digital entrepreneurship process and the creation of digital start-ups, DE in digital platforms, and entrepreneurial digital ecosystems. As is the case with existing DE frameworks, our approach concurs in putting emphasis on the new collaborative and social dynamics enabled by digital tools to support knowledge sharing and facilitate opportunity recognition.


Digital entrepreneurship Information Ecosystem Start-ups Business model Platform 

JEL classifications




We would like to thank Professor Z. J. Acs and Professor D. B. Audretsch, editors-in-chief of Small Business Economics: an Entrepreneurship Journal, for offering us the opportunity to guest-edit this special issue. Our sincere thanks also to all the reviewers for the time and effort they invested in providing feedback on these papers. Last but not least, our thanks to the contributing authors for their intellectual contributions and for the quality of their work, including during the reviewing process. All views expressed in the papers remain, of course, the sole responsibility of the contributing authors.


  1. Abbes, I., & Troudy, Y. (2017). Co-création de valeur et technologie digitale: quel design pour ces plateformes d’engagement ? Le cas du Photomaton 2.0. Management & Avenir, 94, 153–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Acs, Z. J., Autio, E., & Szerb, L. (2014). National systems of entrepreneurship: measurement issues and policy implications. Research Policy, 43(1), 476–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Acs, Z. J., Stam, E., Audretsch, D. B., & O’Connor, A. (2017). The lineages of the entrepreneurial ecosystem approach. Small Business Economics, 49(1), 1–10. Scholar
  4. Anderson, C. (2007). The Long Tail: How Endless Choice Is Creating Unlimited Demand. Random House.Google Scholar
  5. Anderson, C. (2014). Makers: the new industrial revolution. Crown Business.Google Scholar
  6. Armstrong, M. (2006). Competition in two-sided markets. RAND Journal of Economics, 37, 668–691.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Autio, E., Nambisan, S., Thomas, L. D., & Wright, M. (2018). Digital affordances, spatial affordances, and the genesis of entrepreneurial ecosystems. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 12(1), 72–95. Scholar
  8. Benkler, Y. (2006). The wealth of networks: how social production transforms markets and freedom. Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Berger, R., Silberger, A., Herstein, R., & Barnes, B. R. (2015). Analyzing business-to-business relationships in an Arab context. Journal of World Business, 50, 454–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Blank, S. (2013). Why the lean start-up changes everything. Harvard Business Review, 91(5), 63–72.Google Scholar
  11. Bresnahan, T. F., Davis, J. P., & Yin, P. L. (2015). Economic value creation in mobile applications. In The changing frontier: rethinking science and innovation policy (pp. 233-286). University of Chicago Press.
  12. Bryniolfsson, E., & McAfee, A. (2014). The second machine age: work, progress, and prosperity in a time of brilliant technologies, W. W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  13. Cavallo, A., Ghezzi, A., & Balocco, R. (2018). Entrepreneurial ecosystem research: present debates and future directions. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal.
  14. Cumming, D., & Johan, S. (2008). Information asymmetries, agency costs and venture capital exit outcomes. Venture Capital, 10(3), 197–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. de Reuver, M., Sørensen, C., & Basole, R. C. (2018). The digital platform: a research agenda. Journal of Information Technology, 33(2), 124–135. Scholar
  16. Du, W., Pan, S. L., Zhou, N., & Ouyang, T. (2018). From a marketplace of electronics to a digital entrepreneurial ecosystem (DEE): The emergence of a meta-organization in Zhongguancun. China, Information Systems Journal, 28, 1158–1175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. European Commission (2015). Digital transformation of European industry and enterprises: a report of the strategic policy forum on digital entrepreneurship. available from:
  18. Evans, P. C., & Gawer, A. (2016). The rise of the platform enterprise: a global survey.
  19. Evans, D. S., & Schmalensee, R. (2016). Matchmakers: the new economics of multisided platforms. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.Google Scholar
  20. Florida, R. (2006). The flight of the creative class: the new global competition for talent. Liberal Education, 92(3), 22–29.Google Scholar
  21. Huang, J. C., Henfridsson, O., Liu, M., & Newell, S. (2017). Growing on steroids: rapidly scaling the user base of digital ventures through digital innovation. MIS Quarterly, 41(1), 301–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hull, C. E., Hung, Y.-T. C., Hair, N., Perotti, V., & DeMartino, R. (2007). Taking advantage of digital opportunities: a typology of digital entrepreneurship. International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organizations, 4(3), 290–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jacobides, M. G., Cennamo, C., & Gawer, A. (2018). Towards a theory of ecosystems. Strategic Management Journal, 39(8), 2255–2276. Scholar
  24. Jeong, H., Néda, Z., & Barabási, A. L. (2003). Measuring preferential attachment in evolving networks. Europhysics Letters (EPL), 61(4), 567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kraus, S., Palmer, C., Kailer, N., Kallinger, F. L., & Spitzer, J. (2019). Digital entrepreneurship: a research agenda on new business models for the twenty-first century. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 25(2), 353–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lanzolla, G., Lorenz, A., Miron-Spektor, E., Schilling, M., Solinas, G., & C. Tucci (forthcoming). Digital transformation: what is new if anything? Academy of Management Discoveries Special Issue.Google Scholar
  27. Le Dinh, T., Vu, M. C., & Ayayi, A. (2018). Towards a living lab for promoting the digital entrepreneurship process. International Journal of Entrepreneurship, 22(1), 1–17.Google Scholar
  28. Li, W., Badr, Y., & Biennier, F. (2012). Digital ecosystems: challenges and prospects. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Management of Emergent Digital EcoSystems (pp. 117–122). New York: ACM.Google Scholar
  29. Malecki, E. J. (2018). Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial ecosystems. Geography Compass, 12(3), e12359. Scholar
  30. Margiono, A., Zolin, R., & Chang, A. (2018). A typology of social venture business model configurations. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 24(3), 626–650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mason, C., & Brown, R. (2014). Entrepreneurial ecosystems and growth oriented entrepreneurship. Final Report to OECD, Paris, 30(1), 77–102.Google Scholar
  32. Mathews, C., & Brueggemann, R. (2015). Innovation and entrepreneurship. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McIntyre, D. P., & Srinivasan, A. (2017). Networks, platforms, and strategy: emerging views and next steps. Strategic Management Journal, 38(1), 141–160. Scholar
  34. Mollick, E. (2014). The dynamics of crowdfunding: an exploratory study. Journal of Business Venturing, 29(1), 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Nambisan, S. (2016). Digital entrepreneurship: toward a digital technology perspective of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 41(6), 1029–1055. Scholar
  36. Nambisan, S., Siegel, D., & Kenney, M. (2018). On open innovation, platforms, and entrepreneurship. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 12(3), 354–368. Scholar
  37. Nambisan, S., Wright, M., & M. Feldman (2019). The digital transformation of innovation and entrepreneurship: progress, challenges, and key themes. Research Policy, forthcoming.Google Scholar
  38. Osterwalder, A., & Pigneur, Y. (2010). Business model generation: a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers. John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  39. Pariser, E. (2011). The filter bubble: how the new personalized web is changing what we read and how we think. Penguin.Google Scholar
  40. Parker, G. G., Van Alstyne, M. W., & Choudary, S. P. (2016). Pipelines, platforms, and the new rules of strategy. Harvard Business Review, 94(4), 16.Google Scholar
  41. Pournaras, E., & Lazakidou, A. (2008). Trust and innovativeness in virtual organisations. International Journal of Business Innovation and Research, 2(3), 262–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Richter, C., Kraus, S., Brem, A., Durst, S., & Giselbrecht, C. (2017). Digital entrepreneurship: innovative business models for the sharing economy. Creativity and Innovation Management, 26(3), 300–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ries, E. (2011). The lean startup: how today’s entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses. Crown Books.Google Scholar
  44. Rippé, C. B., Weisfeld-Spolter, S., Yurova, Y., & Sussan, F. (2015). Is there a global multichannel consumer? International Marketing Review, 32(3/4), 329–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rochet, J.-C., & Tirole, J. (2003). Platform competition in two-sided markets. Journal of the European Economic Association, 1(4), 990–1029.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sahut, J. M., Hikkeorva, L., & Moez, K. (2013). Business model and performance of firms. International Business Research, 6(2), 64–76. Scholar
  47. Song, A. K. (2019). The digital entrepreneurial ecosystem: a critique and reconfiguration. Small Business Economics. Forthcoming.Google Scholar
  48. Srinivasan, A., & Venkatraman, N. (2018). Entrepreneurship in digital platforms: a network centric view. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 12(1), 54–71. Scholar
  49. Steininger, D. M. (2019). Linking information systems and entrepreneurship: a review and agenda for IT associated and digital entrepreneurship research. Information Systems Journal, 29, 363–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sussan, F., & Acs, Z. J. (2017). The digital entrepreneurial ecosystem. Small Business Economics, 49(1), 55–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tan, G., & Zhou, J. (2017). Price competition in multi-sided markets. USC-INET research paper no. 17-29. Available at SSRN:
  52. Teece, D. J. (2018). Profiting from innovation in the digital economy: enabling technologies, standards, and licensing models in the wireless world. Research Policy, 47(8), 1367–1387. Scholar
  53. Weil, T. (2011). Silicon Valley stories. In Networks of Creativity and Innovation, edited by Udo Staber and Fiorenza Bellusi. Routledge.Google Scholar
  54. Yetis-Larsson, Z., Teigland, R., & Dovbysh, O. (2015). Networked entrepreneurs: how entrepreneurs leverage open source software communities. American Behavioral Scientist, 59(4), 475–491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Yin, P.-L., Davis, J. P., & Muzyrya, Y. (2014). Entrepreneurial innovation: killer apps in the iPhone ecosystem. American Economic Review, 104(5), 255–259. Scholar
  56. Yoo, Y., Henfridsson, O., & Lyytinen, K. (2010). Research commentary: the new organizing logic of digital innovation: an agenda for information systems research. Information Systems Research, 21(4), 724–735.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Michel Sahut
    • 1
    Email author
  • Luca Iandoli
    • 2
  • Frédéric Teulon
    • 3
  1. 1.IDRAC Business SchoolLyonFrance
  2. 2.College of Professional StudiesSt John’s UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.IPAG Business SchoolParisFrance

Personalised recommendations