Extant research emphasize that new ventures typically face a set of common conditions called liability of newness (e.g. Stinchcombe, 1965), which affects their chances of survival (e.g. Arthurs and Busenitz, 2006). We propose that new ventures have a differentiated approach to cooperation compared with established firms due to their different backgrounds and needs. While new ventures are forced to overcome hostile environments and lack of resources when developing new products (Bruton and Rubanik, 2002), incumbents are not so constrained and are more able to develop products on their own. Thus, liability of newness forces new ventures to cooperate under a cost-economizing and risk sharing paradigm, while incumbents are guided by a wider range of strategic rationales such as acquiring technical knowledge, market positioning or assuring the apropiability of the results. Therefore, new ventures’ most effective ways of cooperation in R&D may have a differentiated profile than those for incumbents. Specifically, we suggest that, for new ventures, the most effective collaboration partners to foster product innovation are SMEs, other new ventures, knowledge centers (universities, research centers, and public labs) and financial institutions while incumbents can profit the most from cooperating with large companies.