Should You Launch In Multiple International Markets Simultaneously?

Q: Is it a good idea for a start-up to launch in multiple international markets (with limited entry barriers) simultaneously?

We’re working on a mobile app which is new but easy to copy. But the product doesn’t have a technical advantage and little intellectual property.

A: Honestly the answer is “IT DEPENDS.”

It is hard to comment without knowing the specifics. Yet, here are some general questions for your initial consideration:

  • Where are you (e.g. the company, brand and/or product) at right now?
  • Where would you like to go, i.e. what is your short-term and long-term company/brand/product strategy?
  • Does it (launching in multiple international markets simultaneously), fit into the strategy? In other words, will it get you where you wanna go? Are there any other options available? What are the pros and cons of each option?
  • If so, what are the criteria you will use for the selection of potential markets for launching?
  • Have you done your homework in understanding the respective market and how would you go about it?
  • Does the company have the resources and capability of doing so?
  • Any adaptation needed for any specific market(s)?
  • How does the economics work? BTW, is it a free mobile app or not?
  • Does it make sense to launch simultaneously? Or does it make sense launch it first in a couple of pilot markets, see how it will go and draw on the experiences?

and many other questions that are relevant in your specific situation.

Personally I feel that launching simultaneously internationally may not be the priority or right focus, especially when the product is still under development. It is especially the case for start-ups as you tend to have limited resources, need focus and gaining quick wins and momentum.

Yet, it may be the right thing to do under your specific circumstance, which I do not have sufficient understanding of.

Regarding your concern on the IP and also potentially possibility of being copied, please refer to one of the early posts that I wrote on copycats.