The analysis of high-tech start-ups is one of the main areas of work covered by the department of Industrial Economics and International Management. However, ZEW studies to date, along with almost all other analyses found in the literature, share one important disadvantage: Companies are generally only contacted once, by means of a questionnaire, with the result that only cross-sectional observation are possible. Yet technology-oriented firms, in particular, are faced with numerous and drastic changes in the first few years following their foundation. Little is known to date about how young technology-oriented companies react to these changes. It is true that investigations have been carried out into the success factors and obstacles for young companies. However, these do not take account of the fact that success factors must be sustained over time and that the barriers to company development change with time and with the age of the company. This is where the ZEW High-Tech Start-Up Panel comes into play, with its aim of tracking the development of newly-founded technology-oriented companies over a longer period of time.
The High-Tech Start-Up Panel will regularly check the development of young technology-oriented companies in Germany, over a number of years. The findings will be subjected to systematic analysis. The survey will be carried out once a year by means of computer-aided telephone interviews (CATI). The field phase of the first year’s survey took place in February and March 2007.
For the 2007 survey, the ZEW has received a contract from Microsoft Deutschland to carry out research. A further contribution to financing the ZEW High-Tech Start-Up Panel came from a project on Business Angels sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.
The chosen themes for the 2007 survey were the financing of young technology-oriented companies and the question on vertical integration versus outsourcing:

  • Financing: what are the most important forms of financing for young technology-oriented firms? What characterises the structure of corporate finance of high-tech start-ups? In which does the importance of a particular form of financing change within the first years of a company’s existence?
  • Vertical integration: the investigations carried out under this heading for the 2007 survey looked into new high-tech companies’ decisions to make use of external support for their various business functions. The aim was firstly to determine the type and extent of functions that are outsourced, and secondly to investigate the motives for a company to outsource particular tasks.

From 2008, the ZEW High-Tech Start-Up Panel is continued as a part of the KfW/ZEW Start-Up Panel.

Selected Publications