Commercializing LanzaTech, from waste to fuel: An effectuation case

Brian Karlson, Cristiano Bellavitis, Nadine France

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This case describes the extraordinary growth story of LanzaTech, a New Zealand (NZ)-based company cofounded in 2005 by scientists Sean Simpson and Richard Forster. LanzaTech developed a microbe which fermented the waste gases generated from steel manufacturing to produce ethanol and other chemicals. This case builds on effectuation logic and entrepreneurial discovery to highlight the challenges and opportunities of research commercialization. The case is structured chronologically and outlines the steps that the entrepreneur has taken to build the technology from scratch. It covers the early phases of the company, focussing particularly on how LanzaTech developed, refined, patented and began to commercialize its research. A key strength of the case is its multidisciplinary focus. The case describes some of the crucial aspects of research commercialization including capital raising, developing a business model, forming partnerships and expanding internationally. The case also describes a company committed to retaining its research base in NZ, and some of the opportunities and drawbacks of operating in a small economy at a distance from key market players.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-196
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Management and Organization
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • New Zealand
  • entrepreneurship
  • innovation
  • international new venture
  • joint ventures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Commercializing LanzaTech, from waste to fuel: An effectuation case'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this