Abstract

Software startups implement and deploy innovative software-based products and services, for which they are in search of a viable and scalable business model. In the well-established Lean Startup Approach, pivoting – testing new fundamental hypotheses about a product, strategy, or engine of growth – is a standard method applied in this process. Failing to pivot at the right time and for the right reasons can substantially jeopardize a startup’s chance to develop into a viable business. Given the alleged importance of pivots, surprisingly little is known about the events leading up to and resulting from pivots. Our study starts to fill this gap in theoretical knowledge by empirically investigating the circumstances under which it is beneficial to perform pivots and what to expect from them for product development, business model development and innovation. Focusing on technology pivots – one specific type of pivot – we use an embedded inductive multi-case research design to propose a preliminary model that identifies three prerequisites, five antecedent and nine consequence categories of technology pivots. Lastly, we discuss the impact of technology pivots on individual business model dimensions.

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