"Who Are User Entrepreneurs?" is the first study to quantify the prevalence and characteristics of user entrepreneurs – those who have created innovative products or services for their own use, then subsequently founded firms to commercialize them – and identify how the firms they start compare to other U.S. startups in terms of revenue growth, job creation, R&D investment and intellectual property.
Three particularly interesting patterns emerge:
The authors compared three types of user entrepreneurs – end-user entrepreneurs (those who developed products or services for personal use); professional-user entrepreneurs (those who developed products or services for business use); and hybrid professional-/end-user entrepreneurs – with other "innovative" U.S. startups that had performed R&D during their first year of operations, and with U.S. startups in general. The findings draw on data from the Kauffman Firm Survey longitudinal study tracking nearly 5,000 firms founded in 2004.
Several previous industry-level studies suggested that user entrepreneurs were the first to introduce many key innovative products and services into the commercial marketplace in industries as diverse as medical devices, juvenile products and sporting goods. User entrepreneurs have founded many well-known and successful companies, including Yahoo!, Black Diamond and Medtronic. Firms founded by the three user entrepreneur types also differed from U.S. startups overall, and from one another, in terms of market sectors, revenue, financing methods and intellectual property ownership.
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This report is from the Kauffman Firm Survey Series of research.