Open Source Collaboration in Digital Ventures
Date Written: October 1, 2020
Over the past decade, open source collaboration (OSC) platforms, such as GitHub, have transformed how entrepreneurial firms organize their innovation efforts and output. As a result, there is an increasing number of startups seeking to create value by engaging with open communities on such platforms. From the lens of open innovation, we examine openness and appropriability in high-tech startups’ external collaboration on OSC platforms. We develop a theoretical framework to explicate how the engagement in OSC may affect the value of startup firms and how the effect is contingent on the stage of the new venture (conception, commercialization, and growth) and the mode of OSC (inbound and outbound). In analyses that pool 22,896 matched startups with monthly panel observations between 2008 and 2017, this study shows while openness increases startups’ value, the effect increases with venture stage and is higher in inbound OSC. Our analysis further shows that startups in the conception and commercialization stages benefit more from inbound OSC whereas startups in the growth stage benefit more from outbound OSC. These results contribute to our understanding of whether, when, and how knowledge flows on OSC platforms give rise to entrepreneurial opportunities.
Keywords: open innovation, open source collaboration, value creation, value capture, technology policy, entrepreneurship
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation