Why Early-Stage Software Startups Fail: A Behavioral Framework

  • Carmine Giardino
  • Xiaofeng Wang
  • Pekka Abrahamsson
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 182)


Software startups are newly created companies with little operating history and oriented towards producing cutting-edge products. As their time and resources are extremely scarce, and one failed project can put them out of business, startups need effective practices to face with those unique challenges. However, only few scientific studies attempt to address characteristics of failure, especially during the early-stage. With this study we aim to raise our understanding of the failure of early-stage software startup companies. This state-of-practice investigation was performed using a literature review followed by a multiple-case study approach. The results present how inconsistency between managerial strategies and execution can lead to failure by means of a behavioral framework. Despite strategies reveal the first need to understand the problem/solution fit, actual executions prioritize the development of the product to launch on the market as quickly as possible to verify product/market fit, neglecting the necessary learning process.


Software startups customer development lean startup 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carmine Giardino
    • 1
  • Xiaofeng Wang
    • 1
  • Pekka Abrahamsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Free University of BolzanoBolzanoItalia

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