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Internationalisation at Spotify  w/ Axel Bard Bringéus (Partner @EQT Ventures)

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It's never too early to start thinking about internationalisation. It's one of the hardest challenge that European entrepreneurs face! Yet if you want to go big, there's no other way but to go beyond your home market.

When Axel joined the team at Spotify, they were 250 employees and had 10M users in 6 countries. As Global Head of Markets, he helped them expand to 61 countries, serving 140M users.

In this talk, Axel shares lessons and stories about how they sustained such a rapid rate of expansion, solving bottlenecks along the way.

Axel is now putting his experience to the service of startups as International Expansion Partner at EQT Ventures. Prior to Spotify, he spent three years with online entertainment company King.com.

Veröffentlicht in: Kleinunternehmen & Unternehmertum
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Internationalisation at Spotify  w/ Axel Bard Bringéus (Partner @EQT Ventures)

  1. 1. Going global - lessons learned from leading Spotify’s international expansion Axel Bard Bringéus
  2. 2. Who am I ● Built and managed the New Markets team @ Spotify ○ Launched Spotify across 55 markets between 2011 and 2017 ● Built and managed the Global Markets team @ Spotify ○ Set up organizational model, operating model and processes for Spotify’s geographic markets ○ Hired (fired) and managed the teams running Spotify’s geographic markets ● Operating Partner @ EQT Ventures since November 2017
  3. 3. EQT Ventures in a nutshell ● Big: €566M fund investing €1M - €75M across EU (and US) ● Leverage: Part of EQT Partners, huge network and expertise ● Hands-on: Former founders and operators across tech, product, talent, expansion, finance from Booking.com, Spotify, King.com, Uber
  4. 4. #1 Strategic considerations when going global ● Market dynamics: Size of market, winner-takes all dynamics, network effects? ● How important is winning the US (or other specific markets)? ● What are the competitors doing?
  5. 5. #1 Strategic considerations when going global ● Spotify and the streaming market 10 years ago: ○ Winner(s)-take(s) all market - a European streaming service cannot exist ○ Threat of the FAANGs ○ Huge network effects in listening and behavior data ○ US a must-win market ○ Defined local markets that need to be won independently ● Shaped Spotify’s expansion strategy and resource allocation: ○ Big bold bet on the US + ambition and race to win every major local market
  6. 6. #2 Operating Model for launching markets at scale ● Roadmap - all markets in the world plotted out according to: ○ Market potential: Size and profits ○ Feasibility: Cultural proximity, competition, regulatory, user behavior ○ Strategic considerations: competitive moats, possible partnerships ● Started launching markets one-by-one: ○ resource intense, additional complexity, slow
  7. 7. #2 Operating Model for launching markets at scale ● Scalable market launch ops to execute on global roadmap ○ Different playbooks per market category ● Dedicated semi-autonomous International Expansion team: ○ Launch managers accountable for every market on the roadmap ○ High-variance functions in team (Sales, Marketing, Tech Ops) for autonomy ○ Low-variance functions commit to bandwidth and resources (Legal, HR) ● Averaged 1.5 new market per month during 2013-2014
  8. 8. #3 Operating Model for managing markets at scale ● What’s the endgame? ○ Ops model, org and processes for managing a multinational company ● What are the levers of the local business: ○ Can the PnL be managed locally ○ What are the critical in-market functions ○ Global vs. local, central vs. decentral
  9. 9. #3 Operating Model for managing markets at scale ● Spotify: from CMs to SDs to GMs ○ Start as centralized as possible, no staff in-market before/if you need to ○ Gradually decentralize autonomy, decisions and budget to local teams ○ Optimize for action, speed and reduce complexity and break the silos ○ Budgeting and resource allocation is core for lean operating model ● Hiring in-market: ○ Focus on values and culture - gets diluted with expansion ○ Don’t compromise on local hires + deploy long-serving culture bearers

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