Expanding Sharing Economy Platforms: Translating success to new markets

Ida Sofie Åsle

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

The purpose of this thesis is to construct a theoretical framework for sharing economy platforms planning to expand internationally. The motivation underpinning this purpose is based on the rapidly increasing number of new startups within the sharing economy, and the observation that many of these ventures fail after a few years. Typically, these ventures experience success in their home market, which attracts investors demanding more growth. This growth can often only be achieved by expanding internationally. However, the expansions are often unsuccessful, leading the companies behind them to fail. In an attempt to explore how the success rate among internationally expanding sharing economy platforms can be improved, this thesis merges Platform Theory, literature on the sharing economy, as well as theories of international expansion and entry timing, to construct an adapted theoretical framework. This framework is then applied to the study of a case company that experienced all the typical challenges pertaining to expanding sharing economy platforms: GoMore. GoMore is a Danish ridesharing platform that expanded to Norway in the summer of 2014. Unfortunately, a year after launch, the platform was still not fully functional in the new market due to low adoption rates. Analyzing the case company’s strategic actions in terms of the adapted framework, several points for improvements emerge. The findings suggest that adhering to the proposed framework may have helped the case company in succeeding with their expansion. The main implication of this thesis is that there are relevant theories as to expanding sharing economy internationally, and by the purposeful merger of these theories, frameworks for strategic action may be developed. Such a framework may assist sharing economy platforms in identifying markets with success potential, as well as the appropriate strategies for obtaining this success.

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2015
Number of pages171