A New Era of Born Global Companies: Disruption by Platform-based Born Global Companies in the sharing Economy

Patrick Andrè Skafte Kongsbak & Christian Blondeau Vendler

Student thesis: Master thesis


Internationalization is not a new term as companies have entered foreign markets for centuries, however in more recent years the approach to internationalization have become more aggressive and some companies decide to internationalize already from inception or within a few years. The Born Global term was coined back in 1993, and a lot of research has been made on this type of companies since then. However, a new type of platform-based Born Global company in the sharing economy is in these years completely redefining how to approach early internationalization. They internationalize from a very young age, and even the traditional Born Global companies researched in the literature can not keep up with their aggressive approach to internationalization. The purpose of this master thesis is to investigate how these platform-based Born Global companies in the sharing economy differentiate themselves from the more traditional Born Global companies, and why they have such an aggressive approach to internationalization. In order to thoroughly explore this area of the Born Global concept, techniques such as a literature review and multiple case studies will be used, as this will provide the best foundation for analyzing these new platform-based Born Global companies in the sharing economy. This master thesis is intended to provide a better understanding of the term Born Global, and how companies in the sharing economy is setting new standards for internationalization. It will identify similarities and limitations in the existing literature, and thereby propose relevant new research. In this master thesis, we have found that there are clear limitations in the literature on traditional Born Global companies. The existing Born Global literature does not take into account how easily platform-based companies can scale, and that the real value is no longer in the product, but in the users. The users are of the utmost importance for these new platform-based Born Global companies in the sharing economy, as the users are the ones generating the value on the platforms. Once enough users are acquired, a positive network effect is set in motion, creating a major competitive advantage, that is very hard for competitors to break. Similarities are also present, especially when exploring the human capital of the companies, but human capital such as founders with international experience for instance, is of less importance now, as investors with international experience begins to play a bigger role in these new Born Global companies.

EducationsMSc in International Business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages139
SupervisorsPeter Gammeltoft