SSU: Software StartUps (Special Session)

It is not an over-statement that a new software company starts up every day - maybe even a few each day – around different corners of the globe. Technological trends, such as cloud computing, mobile software development, social media tools, accelerate the rise of software startups by reducing the cost of doing it. They also enable new ways of starting up software business, such as fund crowdsourcing, global startups, etc..

The landscape of software startups is extremely dynamic, unpredictable and even chaotic. The competition is high. About 90% of the startups end up as failure. Success is accidental. To make sense in such a chaotic environment software entrepreneurs need to act quickly, fail fast and in an economic way, and learn from the failure. The emergence of “Lean Startup” methodology has been readily accepted as the natural fit for the needs of software startups. It advocates the creation of rapid prototypes designed to test market assumptions, and uses the feedback to evolve them much faster than before. Lean startup is also associated with lean thinking applied to the entrepreneurial process.

Apart from facilitating technology and methodology, it is also the duty of higher educations such as universities to cultivate entrepreneurship spirits in students. The question is how to effectively teach students software startups and nurture future software entrepreneurs. There is no ready answer yet.

The SSU special session intends to bring together the technological, methodological and educational perspectives on software startups. The aim of this special session is to gather industrial and academic minds together to explore the potentials and synergies underlying these perspectives. As a result of the session, we should have a clearer understanding on how they shape the future of software startups.

To this end, we encourage people who are working on or interested in the area of software startups to submit their original research studies or their first hand experiences regarding the three abovementioned perspectives. Due to the emerging and renascent nature of these topics, conceptual or opinion papers with original insights are also welcome. The topics listed below are only suggestive and serves to solicit more interesting related topics:

  • Failure (or success) stories of software startups
  • Impact of new technological trends on software startups
  • Lean Startup concepts and their implication to software business
  • Application of lean startup approach 
  • Customer/Consumer Development
  • Underlying theories/principles for software startups
  • Teaching cases
  • Curriculum development for software startup education

The organizers of the special session will invite the best papers to be submitted to an international journal.

Track Organizers


Prof. Pekka Abrahamsson, Free University of Bolzano-Bozen, Italy


Dr. Xiaofeng Wang, Free University of Bolzano-Bozen, Italy

Program Committee

  • Jan Bosch, Chalmers University, Sweden
  • Kieran Conboy, University of New South Wales, Australia
  • Tor Erlend Fegri, SINTEF, Norway
  • Brian Fitzgerald, Lero, Ireland
  • Tony Gorschek, Blekinge Institute, Sweden
  • Slinger Jansen, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  • Darja Smite, BIT, Sweden
  • Pasi Tyrväinen, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Nilay Oza, VTT, Finland
  • Richard Vidgen, Hull University, UK