The open innovation paradigm emphasises the importance of alliances for improving the innovation performance of firms. However, existing empirical research on innovation performance implications of alliances is dominated by cross-sectional studies. As a result, we do not know how the time frame of alliances might influence innovation performance. In this study, we therefore examine the impact of different time frames of alliance strategies on innovation performance. In order to do so, we collected panel data on 217 Flemish startup firms. The results show a positive association between ‘discontinuous alliance strategies’ with suppliers, customers and competitors and ‘incremental’ innovation performance. In addition, we find a positive impact of ‘continuous alliance strategies’ with suppliers, competitors and universities and other research institutes on ‘radical’ innovation performance. These findings encourage startup firms to balance their alliance portfolio not only in terms of different kinds of partners but also in terms of different kinds of time frames.
Keywords: startup, time frame, alliance strategy, innovation performance