Michael E. Porter defines a cluster as "A cluster is a geographically proximate group of interconnected companies and associated institutions in a particular field, linked by commonalities and complementarities". Some people have recently argued that advances in IoT/IoE technologies make a cluster meaningless. An innovative cluster relies on an incessant supply of human resources with advanced knowledge from universities. For that reason, the geographic location of clusters are consistent with the distribution of excellent universities. In areas where key universities are located, the importance of the role of intellectual service companies has been increasing in the ecosystem between local networks. Therefore, even in the era of IoT/IoE, these knowledge intensive business service entities are believed to be continuing to grow a sense of presence as a fixed element of the cluster. From the perspective of the ecosystem, the cluster has evolved along with having been changed from an industrial-based economy in the 20th century to a science-based economy in the 21st century.
This special issue is composed of five papers analyzing Silicon Valley, Austin, and Seattle in the U.S., and London and Cambridge in the U.K. We explain the essence of business ecosystems in those innovative regions. We focus on why high-tech startups and academic spinoffs have emerged. We want to emphasize three crucial points: the existence of serial entrepreneurs, the role of large companies, and the attractiveness of creative cities. Serial entrepreneurs can often create new businesses beyond the industrial boundary. Large companies cultivate human resources. Spinoff firms from large companies can grow, then the large companies can buy them back. The attractiveness of creative cities particularly fascinates sophisticated immigrants. Currently, we are seeing competitive acquisitions of human resources among three American regions and between two British regions.
Over the last fifty years Cambridge, UK, has earned a reputation as a cluster of science and technology innovation. The role of the University of Cambridge tends to be over-emphasised in the academic literature: it undoubtedly plays an important enabling function in attracting capable people and in performing world class research, but this does not entirelu explain the robustness of surrounding eco-system that has grown organically over the past few decades. The first part of this paper discusses the components of that eco-system and the scale of the scientific cluster that has emerged. In the remainder of the paper the focus lies on a type of R&D service firm, the technology development consultancy (TDC), that has played a very significant role in the growth and reputation of the Cambridge cluster. The business model operated by TDCs - financing the development of proprietary technologies that may eventually be licensed or spun out by conducting contract research for other companies - is discussed at some length. The paper argues that the TDC business model offers a variety of paths to growth and that its flexibility contributes significantly to these firms' longevity. Their role in the Cambridge cluster deserves to be better understood.
Entrepreneurship is seen as a crucial element of regional innovation and enterprise policy for the 'entrepreneurial region'. The paper discusses the roles that social networks and human capital play in the formation of 'born global' entrepreneurial start-up companies. The illustrative case study of digital media start-up communities in London highlights different forms of knowledge that underline the human capital formation of the start-up communities, and how new forms of networks connect different types of knowledge bases and skills leveraging the resources of nascent etrepreneurs. London's Silicon Roundabout provides a model of an entrepreneurial city-region, where different types of knowledge are combined by attracting highly educated talents including PhD graduates from top research universities in the UK, US as well as elsewhere. Deep analytical knowledge is networked through other intermediary knowledge, building entrepreneurial captal and absorptive capacity of the city region. The paper concludes by identifying future areas of study and critically examining the roles of policies and education and training institutions, especially universities, in responding to new entrepreneurial learning opportunities.
Cluster formations are important measures for strengthening local high-tech clusters are created and grown, especially focusing on spin-offs created by serial entrepreneurs. This study uses the software industry in Austin, Texas, USA, as its research setting, which is a rapidly growing IT cluster. During the development, a nexus of spin-offs has seen over 15 years from a single company, Tivoli Systems. According to data analysis on the spinoff founders' careers, ten serial entrepreners are identified. They tend to have careers spanning across traditional boundaries and share their experiences with novice entrepreneurs willingly. This survey finds that spin-offs founded by serial entrepreneurs facilitate cluster formations and achieve high performance, and elucidates the causes behind these phenomena.
This paper discusses the characteristics of the software industry ecosystem in Seattle, U.S. since the 2000s and its new deployment. The software industry began to cluster from the early 1980s in Seattle, and the rapid growth of Microsoft has formed a world-class software industry ecosystem in that city. Microsoft has indirectly produced a large number of entrepreneurs, engineers, venture capitalists, and business angels in Seattle. This Seattle ecosystem consists of around 2500 establishments, including Microsoft, universities, colleges, researhc institutions educational institutions, venture capitalists, and a local business organization, which have played an active role in this ecosystem. Software and IT human capital exceeding 100,000 are gathered in Seattle, including various specialists, and learning systems in companies and in the metropolitan area. This large pool of human capital has contributed to the development of new industries in the fields of gaming and biotechnology as well as to the acquisition of a competitive edge by the aerospace industry.
The region of Silicon Valley had attracted investment and human resources while the core industry has shifted from the previous field to the next field and an entrepreneurial ecosystem has evolved. Recently, web & mobile business have emerged. Immigrant entrepreneurs have the advantage of being able to hire low paid engineers in homecountries rather than high paid engineers in Silicon Valley. Most of them choose buyout instead of IPO and accmulate entrepreneurial experiences for their next startups. We found three factors which stimulate growth in startups in the preliminary study. The first is plural founders including CTO, the second is avoiding niche markets and the third is global orientation.