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}ay Eum
Neaily eveiy week we see anothei heauline about a pieviously unknown staitup
that has catapulteu to inteinational staiuom. Wheie it once took yeais -- sometimes
uecaues -- to go fiom ielative obscuiity to maiket leauei, the infinite connecteuness
of oui planet has compiesseu that timeline into months, if not weeks. Thanks to the
viiality of the social web, woiu of new apps, seivices anu gaugets tiavels fast, anu
consumeis uemanu instant giatification, cieating oiganic uemanu foi iapiu maiket
expansion.
Consiueiing the skyiocketing giowth iates in viitually all inuustiies in emeiging
maikets aiounu the woilu, it's no suipiise the temptation to go inteinational is so
stiong. In the mobile-app space, foi example, }apan is by fai the fastest-giowing
maiket, geneiating S6u peicent ievenue giowth in the Apple App Stoie alone last
yeai. The next thiee top maikets -- Russia, China anu Taiwan -- aie all above the 1uu
peicent maik, with auuitional stiong giowth in Biazil, Nexico anu Tuikey. Anu, in
the clouu-technology space (anothei booming inuustiy), uaitnei pieuicts uouble-
uigit giowth iates in Inuonesia, Inuia, Aigentina Nexico anu Biazil.
=>< "+,-%.3 Foi any type of company, inteinational expansion obviously pioviues
tiemenuous giowth oppoitunities to penetiate anu uominate new maikets.
Consiueiing how iesouice consuming anu challenging this is, howevei, staitups
must be veiy cleai about why they woulu even attempt inteinational expansion anu
paitneiships. The piimaiy ieason foi inteinational expansion anu paitneiships is to
enable oi acceleiate maiket uomination.
Nost haiuwaie companies, like consumei uevices anu "weaiables," will neeu
manufactuiing paitneis eaily on to suppoit going to maiket in a new geogiaphy.
Nobile-app companies neeu uevice uistiibution paitneis to acceleiate usei
auoption anu giowth. Without these stiategic paitneiships in place, uomination of
any maiket will iemain unattainable.
=>"% () ?96,@ The question of when to take the leap is peihaps the most
peiplexing. Concein ovei emeiging competitois anu agony ovei the possibility of
lost oppoitunities can tuin an eagei entiepieneui into a iacehoise chomping at the
bit. Expanuing inteinationally can be veiy uifficult anu it's wise to not let blinu
ambition iuin a goluen oppoitunity.
The fiist step is to ensuie that the iesouices anu banuwiuth aie in place to piopeily
plan anu execute the expansion stiategy. Next, be suie you've builu enough
ieputation equity in youi home maiket to give you cieuibility. As an unknown in a
new maiket, you can tiy to have poweiful iefeiences lineu up to impiove youi
chances of lanuing that impoitant fiist customei.
A)B () 29CC"".@ While the exact stiategy will vaiy uepenuing on the inuustiy, a few
stanuaiu piinciples shoulu guiue an inteinational expansion effoit:
Finu the path of least iesistance. Look fiist to maikets with similai chaiacteiistics
that iequiie minimal aujustment to youi home-maiket stiategy. Foi 0.S. companies,
othei English-speaking countiies will piesent lowei baiiieis to entiy than non-
English-speaking countiies.
Balance ease of penetiation with maiket oppoitunity. While China may be the
laigest maiket in teims of sheei population, it can be extiemely uifficult foi non-
Chinese companies to penetiate.
0se inteinal iesouices to gain access. Nany staitups have foieign-boin employees
who aie alieauy quite knowleugeable about theii home maiket anu may have
existing netwoiks that can help to make an eaily connection.
Leveiage inteinational iesouices on youi home soil. Nost leauing foieign
technology companies have local iepiesentation in Silicon valley foi the puiposes of
technology scouting, ventuie investments anu othei 0.S. business uealings. It's a
goou place to stait when testing the wateis.
With success coming so quickly these uays foi many 0.S. staitups, it's only natuial
that ambitious entiepieneuis have begun eyeing inteinational expansion eailiei in
theii coipoiate life cycle. Nany focus theii investoi pitch on the inteinational
potential fiom the veiy beginning.
Simply copying anu pasting stiategy fiom one countiy to anothei is a iecipe foi
uisastei, howevei. Each maiket comes with its own nuances, moies anu customs,
anu economic, iegulatoiy anu political issues that can vaiy wiuely even within a
iegion. A successful inteinational go-to-maiket stiategy staits with a stiong
founuation of home-maiket success, backeu by ample ieseaich, shiewu analysis, a
stiong netwoik -- anu loaus of couiage.
D-< *96
}ay Eum is a co-founuei anu Nanaging Biiectoi of TiansLink Capital.
Be is iesponsible foi TiansLink's investments in Caibonite,
Chaitboost, Enteipiise BB, Livesciibe, nWay, Peel, Quixey,
SounuBounu anu YuNe. Follow Eum on LinkeuIn.