The reasoning behind focusing on early stage research and enabling the match early on, is that universities in general struggle to bridge the so-called “Valley of Death”. This is a term used to describe the gap when transferring research results to products and services outside the university walls. A key factor in Open Entrepreneurship is the facilitation of external people with market insights and start-up expertise to work alongside the researchers, and let them do the work in realizing market fit and customer validation. This enables start-ups that are incubated at the universities and have their first products and customers validated before spinning out. In parallel, this method brings together people with diverse skillsets needed to form and strengthen the nascent start-up team in terms of commercial and financial competences, mindset and social skills.
Open Entrepreneurship is based on pilot experiences from the project, Bridging the Gap, which was also funded by the Danish Industry Foundation. Bridging the Gap showed that spin-outs or start-ups coming from universities are more sustainable and has a better chance of surviving – when the researcher or research team is matched with experienced entrepreneurs, who bring important skillset and industry know-how.