The choice of university faculty to engage in academic entrepreneurship—the establishment and management of a university spinoff company—is a critical component of university economic development efforts. Replicating Hayter (J Technol Transf 36:340–352, 2011), this study investigates motivations and definitions of success among academic entrepreneurs, how they evolve, and why. The results show that academic entrepreneurs are motivated by a number of distinct, yet interrelated reasons and that spinoffs are viewed as a vehicle to pursue SBIR awards and consulting opportunities that can, in turn, enhance their traditional academic teaching and research responsibilities. Several academic entrepreneurs have enjoyed commercialization success yet, as a group, near-term commercialization goals and financial motivations have become relatively less important. While these findings have important implications for policy, they also signal a new conceptualization of university spinoffs as a low-growth contract research firm and provide empirical support for the emerging theory of public entrepreneurship.
Hayter, C. S. (2015). Public or private entrepreneurship? Revisiting motivations and definitions of success among academic entrepreneurs. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 40, 1003–1015.