Tips for Internationalizing Your Startup from Contributors

If internationalizing or globalizing your startup is one of the goals you have for your  startup, then knowing how and when to do it is key. The following three articles from, written by various contributors in 2015, discuss when to scale your startup, what you should consider, and why it is important for startups to scale globally sooner rather than later.

A Startup’s Guide to International Expansion by Steven Carpenter

After spending years identifying and launching international markets with Dropbox, while also collaborating with international experts from Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Uber, Steven decided to write a how to guide on when and how to expand your startup internationally. In his December 23rd, 2015 article in Techcrunch,  Steven stated that, “when 25 percent or more of your business is coming from international markets, it’s time to scale outside your home country.” Some of the questions that Steven answers in his article are:

  1. How do I Structure Regional Operations: Engineering, Product, Sales, Support and Marketing?
  2. What does the Landing Team Look Like?
  3. Are there some interesting Expansion Models? Who Really Messed This Up?

When and How to Pick Your Next Launch Country by Philippe Botteri

A long time investor in both the U.S. and Europe, Philippe answers two sought after questions – 1) Is there such a thing as the “right time” to launch in a new country; and 2) How to pick your next country. According to Philippe in his November 20th, 2015 article in Techcrunch, given the competitive startup environment, where a given success model can be replicated by other startups in your domestic market, it is best to do it sooner than later. Philippe cautions, however, that it should be gradually and in a controlled manner. When determining the right time to launch in a new country, the following three activities should makeup your approach:

  1. Nailing your minimum valuable product (MVP)
  2. Field testing your product with a meaningful amount of customers
  3. Completing your initial marketing playbook.

When it comes to picking your launch country, Philippe notes that three elements should be considered when considering entering any new market:

  1. Market Potential
  2. Cash Requirements
  3. Human Capital

Globalize, Don’t Localize: Three Ways to Properly Ignore Boundaries, by Carl Pei 

Co-founder of OnePlus, the world’s first global direct-to-customer unlocked mobile brand, asserts that, “today, companies are born global; it’s increasingly easy and important to reach out to the entire world from the very beginning.” In his September 25, 2015 article in TechCrunch , Carl provides three tips to startups regarding scaling globally:

  1. Focus on the Product: this means making the best product that is driven by vision; backed by what people need; and that has enough “guts” to push boundaries.
  2. Localize – minimally: which Carl also calls, “minimum viable localization” (MVL), means making sure to localize your product enough for people to use the product in a way that works for them, but things should be kept simple and startups should not over-localize.
  3. Find great partners – Carl advises that startups don’t try to do everything themselves, but instead find local partners on the ground in foreign markets that can help with both operational issues and tapping into user segments within the foreign market.


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