Highly innovative small firms in the markets for technology
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Long-lived small firms with a substantial, public record of innovative success are the focus of this paper. We label such firms "serial innovators" and argue that they are often specialist suppliers in markets for technology. To survive as specialist suppliers, firms must produce technology that is broadly tradable. Using Arora, Fosfuri and Gambardella's markets-for-technology framework, we hypothesize that such technology has certain characteristics. It is: high quality, general purpose, broadly based, quite basic, and concentrated in newer generations of technology. We find that serial innovators, survivors among the specialist technology suppliers, have mastered innovating in technology with these characteristics. This helps explain why these firms have become serious players in these markets—at least for a few years until a new generation of technology emerges.