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Even a Small Conductor Can Lead a Large Orchestra: How Startups Orchestrate Ecosystems

by Bernhard Lingens, Maximilian Böger, and Oliver Gassmann

Even a Small Conductor Can Lead a Large Orchestra: How Startups Orchestrate Ecosystems
Startups combine the speed and innovativeness of a small company with the power and resources of multiple larger firms.
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Contrary to existing literature, startups can be successful orchestrators of ecosystems. Based on nine qualitative case studies, this article introduces four archetypes that shed light on how a startup can fulfill the tasks of an orchestrator and overcome challenges. The findings identify dimensions of standardization/customization and sources of value creation as defining the role of ecosystem orchestrators and demonstrate the consequences for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), corporates, investors, and accelerators involved in such ecosystems.




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