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B. Bigliardi1, F. Galati2, G. Marolla2, C. Verbano3

1University of Parma, Department of Industrial Engineering (ITALY)
2San Marino State University, Department of Economy and Technology (SAN MARINO)
3University of Padova (ITALY)
Academic spin-offs companies are companies founded by an academic inventor created with the aim to exploit technological knowledge that originated within a university setting in order to develop products or services. Spin-offs contribute to technology transfer in two stages. First, they transfer technology from their parent organization to themselves and, second, they transfer the technology to customers. Such companies, in the last two decades, have received increasing attention from both researchers and practitioners, mainly due to their ability to advance industrial application of scientific knowledge. As a consequence, we assisted in the same period to a proliferation of such companies. The extant literature highlight a main reason for their growing economic importance: as the new “open innovation” model has been adopted by organizations, and especially from the bigger ones, it becomes of key importance collaboration with smaller companies with sophisticated scientific and knowledge basis, such as academic spin-offs that make available a multiple research environments and their multidisciplinarity.
Notwithstanding the increasing interest towards academic spin-offs, much of the studies available in literature on this matter have focused on USA’s spin-offs, while still little attention has been paid to the European countries, and to Italy in particular. Thus, the aim of our research is twofold: first, to fill this gap in literature. Second, to propose, on the basis of the above mentioned literature review, a model of evaluation of the spin off companies’ performance. Specifically, the research methodology followed was a combination of literature analysis and Delphi technique: we first systematically reviewed the extant literature on spin off companies, with particular reference to the Italian landscape, to investigate the peculiarities of our national context to be taken into account. Based on the results of this review, we proposed to a panel of expert a list of indicators, as proposed in literature, to be adopted for the performance measurement of academic spin-offs.