Selecting Startups as Suppliers: A Typology of Supplier Selection Archetypes

Stefan Kurpjuweit, Stephan M. Wagner, Thomas Y. Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Recent research highlights opportunities to study collaborations between established firms and startups from a buyer–supplier relationship perspective. However, before firms can leverage startups’ resources and capabilities in a buyer–supplier relationship, they need to identify, evaluate, and select suitable startups as their suppliers. As prior research has only studied how buying firms select established firms as suppliers, it is unclear which processes, tools, or organizational approach firms use when selecting startup firms as suppliers. These suppliers are markedly different in that they lack organizational routines, financial resources, and operational capabilities, posing a significant risk for buying companies. This inductive, qualitative case study research collects data from 20 established buying firms and investigates how they select startups as suppliers. We first identify five design themes distinguishing buying firms’ selection strategies. Based on these themes, we develop a typology of three supplier selection archetypes. The results suggest that firms that are willing and able to adapt their selection approach to startups are expected to show a higher selection performance, meaning that they are more likely to select suitable startups as suppliers. The results extend the supplier selection literature and provide new insights into the emerging field of new venture suppliers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-49
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Supply Chain Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • case study
  • new venture supplier
  • open innovation
  • startup
  • supplier evaluation
  • supplier selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Marketing


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