Global start-ups: Entrepreneurs on a worldwide stage

If the mouse connected to your personal computer is made by Logitech, Inc.–and there’s a good chance it is–then you’re plugged into the growing phenomenon of global start-ups. Most people expect new ventures to begin domestically and for their international operations to evolve slowly, but global start-ups are international at inception. Logitech was founded in 1982 by a Swiss and two Italians who had global aspirations from the beginning. The venture was headquartered in both California and Switzerland. The firm’s R&D and manufacturing were also split between California and Switzerland, and then quickly spread to Taiwan and Ireland. By 1989, it had revenues of $140 million and 30 percent of the worldwide market for those ubiquitous computer rodents. Was the Logitech experience unique, or might there be a pattern underlying the creation dynamics and success characteristics of global start-ups? To answer these questions, we analyzed twelve such start-ups, and personally interviewed several of their founders.

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