International Entrepreneurship


In times of globalization, targeting international markets offers ventures opportunities for growth, cost reduction, and access to resources that are not available at their domestic locations. However, going international is challenging for firms at early stages of their life cycle because many lack the resources and capabilities to internationalize successfully, thus putting their survival at risk. Understanding drivers and processes of early internationalization can help to mitigate some of these risks and to contribute making international entrepreneurship a successful endeavor.

An important avenue of our research is thus to study ventures’ internationalization processes. In the past, our research has analyzed how international experiences of managers contribute to attracting investments from venture capitalists (Patzelt, 2010), and how international experiences of those investors influence their investment strategies (Patzelt, zu Knyphausen-Aufseß & Fischer, 2009). We also reviewed the emerging stream of literature understanding the role of cognition in international entrepreneurship and suggested interesting areas for future research (Milanov & Maissenhaelter, 2015). In line with these developments, our recent research investigates early internationalization decisions of entrepreneurs with a specific emphasis on the role of networks, trust, and experience (Domurath & Patzelt, 2015).

We find the importance of networks also on a firm level. Investigating how alliances influence internationalization, we found that benefits of domestic partners for new venture internationalization may become apparent only when such partners have own international experience, and when such partnerships are considered concomitantly with the venture’s needs and opportunities to apply such knowledge. Thus, our work highlights to the entrepreneurship and internationalization literatures that both the focal new venture’s characteristics, as well as the characteristics of its partners are important in understanding entrepreneurial outcomes such as pursuit of internationalization opportunities (Milanov & Fernhaber, 2014). Our most recent project appears to demonstrate that early internationalization might also have positive consequences for the venture’s legitimacy at home (Maissenhälter & Milanov, 2015) – stay tuned for updates!



Domurath, A., & Patzelt, H. (2015). Entrepreneurs' Assessments of Early International Entry: The Role of Foreign Social Ties, Venture Absorptive Capacity, and Generalized Trust in Others. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice.

Milanov, H., Maissenhälter, B. (2015) Cognition in International Entrepreneurship. In Fernhaber, S.A. and Prashantham, S. (Eds.) The Routledge Companion to International Entrepreneurship. Routledge.

Maissenhälter, B. & Milanov, H., (2015): Going Abroad to Win at Home: New Venture Internationalization as a Legitimation Strategy. Presented at Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference, June 2015.

Milanov, H., Fernhaber, S. A. (2014). When do domestic alliances help new ventures abroad? Direct and moderating effects from a learning perspective. Journal of Business Venturing, 29(3), 377 – 391 (

Patzelt, H. (2010). CEO human capital, top management teams, and the acquisition of venture capital in new technology ventures. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 27(3), 131-147.

Patzelt, H., zu Knyphausen-Aufseß, D., & Fischer, H. (2009). Upper echelons and portfolio strategies of venture capital firms. Journal of Business Venturing, 24(6), 55.