Leveraging an incumbent's position in the launch of a multi-sided platform in the financial software industry

Maria Lena Melchert & Henric Jonathan Blohm

Student thesis: Master thesis


This master thesis examines how incumbents can leverage their position in multi-sided platform launches in the financial software industry, while further accelerating the growth of an ecosystem by entering startup alliances. Through a single case research strategy, the launch of an incumbent's platform is thoroughly investigated from the perspective of the incumbent, clients, startups as well as industry experts. By integrating literature from the three distinct but interrelated areas of platform launches, incumbency, and startup alliances, a theoretical framework is derived, which guides the exploratory study. Defining variables of the framework are categorized into opportunities, challenges, and mitigation strategies, which ultimately are translated into five elements of platform launch strategies. It is concluded that launches in the financial software industry are defined by a trade-off between the openness of the platform and security, resulting in the detection of the scaling dilemma. Ultimately, when launching a platform while collaborating with startups, incumbents must consider the elements of standardization, step-by-step rollout, organizational commitment, equity involvement, and monetization of the platform.

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages128
SupervisorsAli Mohammadi