Research in entrepreneurship points to the influence of a founder’s cognition on the development of a start-up’s business model. This study explores how a founder’s industry, technology- and managerial experience affects the way a novel technology or market-driven idea is embedded in a business model. We conduct a cross-case analysis of eight German-based start-ups focusing on the background of the entrepreneurial agent and the way they imitate business model typologies. Our findings to the industry and technology background suggest four ideal archetypes of founders that differ significantly in the sequence the business model development process is carried out. Additionally, we find that with growing managerial experience, radical business model imitation – inspired by business model typologies – increases. In this way, we propose a framework that can guide founders towards more strategic actions and enable them to better take advantage of their preliminary experiences.