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Keywords:

  • technology emergence;
  • entrepreneurship;
  • industry interaction;
  • nanotechnology

Abstract

Radical process discontinuities provide opportunities for the founding of new firms across multiple industries; however, little is known about such emergence activity. This article examines nascent technology emergence by studying patterns of related entrepreneurial activity across multiple industries based on a radical process discontinuity. Using historical and statistical methods to examine all nanotechnology firms founded before 2005, I find that during technology emergence, entrepreneurship occurs first in upstream industries. These upstream entrepreneurs provide the technological foundations that enable the founding of firms in other industries developing the technology. The results show the role of industry interaction in the development of both upstream and downstream industries. Implications for entrepreneurs and technology emergence are discussed. Copyright © 2010 Strategic Management Society.