In which areas expect start-ups support from their investors?

For his study “Digital Business Management”, Daniel Burkhardt carried out a survey as part of his master thesis “What smart requirements and expectations do start-ups have of (potential) investors in the various stages of development?” (link to the original German text)

172 start-ups from German-speaking countries participated in the study via an online questionnaire.  The study focused on the services that start-ups expect from their investors beyond capital (“value-added services”). A distinction was made between the individual development stages of a startup and up to 27 potential value-added services from five areas that were analyzed. In addition, the study considered the extent to which investors are able to meet the expectations of the start-ups. The results of the study indicate that the start-ups surveyed generally expect value-added services from their investors.

Interestingly in the area of patent law, 51% of the start-ups indicated that they did NOT expect any support from investors, only 2% expect a great deal of support.

In the area of market access, 73% of the start-ups expect moderate to very much support from their investors in enhancing the reputation of the startup. This is particularly relevant during the market entry of the start-ups. In addition, an above-average amount of support is expected in the areas of marketing and sales. However, investors are least able to meet the expectations of the surveyed start-ups in these two of the 27 value-added services examined.

In the area of logistics, start-ups generally expect no support (65%) from their investors.

In the area of management support, just over half of the start-ups expect support from their investors. This is particularly the case for coaching/sparring (55%) and strategy consulting (50%). Investors can mainly meet the expectations of the start-ups here.

In the legal area, only 35% of the start-ups said that they expected support from their investors. The reason for this could be that these types of services are generally provided by lawyers and tax advisors and not by investors. Nevertheless, the comparatively low expectations of the start-ups are most slightly missed by the investors.

In the areas of research (16%), development (25%), establishing processes (29%) and implementing operational and IT infrastructure (approx. 20%), the start-ups said that they hardly need any support. Most start-ups do not expect any support or expect less support from investors in these areas, which could be due to fears of becoming too dependent on investors, a lack of expertise and too much distance from the start-ups’ core business. Investors are unable to meet the expectations of start-ups here, especially in the establishment processes area (-0.7 difference between expectations and perceptions on a scale of 1 to 5). The study has shown that expectations regarding value-added services decline with increasing development stage. While the average rating of the need for support by investors in the pre-seed stage was given as 2.5 on a scale of 1 to 5, this falls continuously to 2.0 in the expansion stage

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