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Innovis was a telecom services start-up founded in 2010 in India. Due to certain government regulations banning the import of telecom equipment from China, Innovis managers saw that the survival of the company was at risk and that it would have a greater competitive advantage if it were to provide its services in countries outside India. Within the first five years of its existence, and with limited resources, the company had already expanded to eight countries in Asia and Africa. Each new market meant that Innovis' already limited resources became more stretched and some operations in other countries even had to be wound down. The company offered two types of service - managed services (centered on network infrastructure planning and maintenance) and consulting services. While consulting services often provided greater margins, these projects were short-term in nature and did not provide business continuity planning. So beyond just picking new geographical areas, the managers strategically wanted to expand only when managed service projects came up. This made it difficult when, in 2015, three new managed service opportunities presented themselves at the same time in three new countries - Ghana, Tanzania and the Philippines. The managers in the leadership team outlined the details of each opportunity and had one week to present the Board with their decision on where to expand next since limited resources meant that only one project could be taken on.
This case highlights the internationalization situation in a resource-constrained environment. A scenario where a start-up goes international within a year is something that may well become more frequent. These "born global" companies start going abroad without first having an established position in their own country. For Innovis, the opportunity it got in doing this was clear: it saved the company. But many questions arose from this strategic choice. It created tensions with the multiple decisions that constantly needed to be made and where so much hung in the balance. This case aims to show the value created through global ventures, the types of strategy available and the different factors of each business and country opportunity that need to be taken into consideration when evaluating a new option for potential expansion.