The road taken: evolution of an emerging company
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Valitulla tiellä: Alkavan yrityksen kehitysaskeleet
This study aimed to give more insight into the evolution of the start-up. Yet, there are many studies related to the start-up companies, and they provide useful information about startups’ business success factors as well as the reasons for failure. However, there is a prominent gap in the definition of a start-up company, which makes comparison and generalization of these studies difficult. The objective was primarily to bring forth the research of a start-up business by proposing a new approach for defining the start-up company. In addition, this thesis brings up the practical problems, which the company has encountered and what has prevented the company from achieving its goals. Further, the purpose of the thesis was to propose actions to the case company, which they can consider when returning to the growth path. The theoretical framework has been the business model ontology and the Lean Startup principles. The framework was supplemented with other selected literature from the field of business theories. The thesis applied qualitative research methodology, and philosophically this research belongs to constructivism. The research strategy was a single case study, and the research data was gathered using two separate thematic interviews and content analysis. The results were three-folds: first, the identification of the turning point that eventually led to the business model formation. Secondly, the case company's development path was portrayed multi-dimensionally, and the business was described through the business model ontology. Thirdly, the study showed in which early customer and its customer segment were identified emphasizing the importance of understanding customer value through illustrative examples. Follow-up actions for the case company were proposed, which also took into account the company's prerequisites for change. The way in which the case company was described in this study was revealing, but further research of the applicability of this approach is needed. Further studies might not only help to gain a better understanding but also to promote the definition of the start-up.