As a key early stage in the formation of an entrepreneurial venture, there has been much recent interest in opportunity recognition as a field of academic study. Although early theorists proposed a holistic approach to the study of venture creation, much of the literature has been dominated by studies focussed on one or two components in isolation. Much of this historical research has an exclusive focus on the role of the entrepreneur or on knowledge within the firm. Such an exclusive focus can be misleading as it fails to consider the nature and dynamics of the inter-relationships taking place in high-tech firms. This paper seeks to synthesise the available literature into a more complete and integrative model of opportunity recognition in high-tech start-ups. We propose opportunity recognition to be a complex, interactive process involving three main components, the founding entrepreneur, the knowledge and experience of the firm and technology. A case study is used to demonstrate the nature of the component interactions. It is argued that more widespread use of the qualitative research can reveal new insights into the complex and interactive process of opportunity recognition in the high-tech start-up. q 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.