Research Themes

Software Startup Ecosystems (Daniel Cukier)

After the popularization and wide use of the Internet in the 1990s and of mobile technologies in the 2000s, we saw an amazing growth on creation of new high-tech companies around the globe. Agile methodologies and Lean Startup concepts brought tools that enabled testing innovative ideas with very low cost, specially when using cloud computing infrastructures. Innovative ideas can be developed, tested and adopted in 1 or 2 years and, in some extreme cases, in a matter of a few months. These super-fast growing innovative tech companies are known as startups.

A startup is a temporary organization in search of a scalable, repeatable, profitable business model. Based on the largest startup database (Crunchbase 2014), there has been more than 200,000 founded startups in the last 10 years. Today, these ventures are concentrated around a few major startup hubs where a supporting ecosystem flourishes. What are the characteristics of startup ecosystems that became successful? Is it possible to replicate successful environments in places other than the one that these ecosystems were created? What can be replicated and what cannot? What changes and adaptations are needed to cope with specific characteristics of each region?

The General Objective of this research is to advance the understanding of how software startups work, what are the elements that influence their behavior and how startups relate with other players in their ecosystem. From this general objective, we derive our Specific Objectives: (1) a better comprehension of existing startups ecosystems, with the development of a generic conceptual framework of Software Startup Ecosystems; (2) instantiation of the conceptual framework to at least 3 different ecosystems, in 3 different regions of the world analyzing their characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses; (3) development of a methodology to compare multiple ecosystems, highlighting their similarities and differences; and (4) development of a methodology to produce recommendations and guidelines for specific ecosystems to improve their effectiveness.

We expect that this work will provide valuable information and insights for both academics and practitioners interested in improving the effectiveness of startup environments worldwide. It can also be used as a basis for future studies in other parts of the globe, leading to comparative analysis.

A mapping of software startups' ecosystem in São Paulo, Brazil (Monna Cleide Santos)

Entrepreneurship and innovation culture are increasingly gaining ground in the global economic reality. Great innovative centers, such as Silicon Valley, in the United States, and cities such as Tel-Aviv, Israel, arise as models for other nations wishing to definitely introduce entrepreneurship as a local culture. In this research, the methodology for collecting and analyzing data proposed by the IME-USP's Entrepreneurship Research Group (ERG) was refined and used to build a model of the software startups' ecosystem in São Paulo, Brazil. Data that make up the model were gathered through qualitative research with members and founders of startups, accelerators, venture capitalists and other important agents of the ecosystem. Some information will also be gathered through a SWOT analysis by people with at least ten years of experience in their field.