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Valuable Resources for Internationalization

Going international is tough — yet there’s very little literature on it. Here’s some good stuff.

Dominik Nitsch
3 min read
Valuable Resources for Internationalization
Photo by NASA on Unsplash

I started working as Head of International for a rapidly growing German EdTech startup 15 months ago. While preparing for the challenge, I figured I’d read some literature on the topic — only to realize that there are very few books on this topic (mostly university textbooks, which usually are outdated by the time they come out).

Why is that?

My hypothesis is that most literature for rapidly growing SaaS startups comes from the US. Given the size of the US markets, most companies don’t have to go international before their Series C, as they can get enough growth at home. For them, it’s not mandatory.

In Europe, this is different. Even operating out of Germany, we decided that we needed go international even before raising our Series A. The market simply isn’t big enough to build a unicorn company. You have to bake in internationalization from day one.

But internationalization (also commonly abbreviated as I18N) is complex. You’re dealing with different cultures, regulatory environments, a wide choice of countries to enter, varying customer preferences, in our case school systems, and much more. You can’t just translate your product to the local language, hire a few local salespeople and you’re good.

Reading up is needed. Luckily, plenty of companies have done it before, so there is some content on I18N out there.

I’ve put together a list of articles for you that have been very helpful for me. Without further ado, here it is:

(1) The Balderton Capital I18N Playbook: great summary of many things to consider when going international. As VCs, they’ve seen plenty of companies go international and summarize their knowledge here.

(2) Index Ventures: Expanding into Europe: very comprehensive guide, again written by a VC firm. This one is targeted towards US entrepreneurs looking to go to Europe, but offers a wide range of topics that you can learn from as European entrepreneur. It breaks down hiring, setting up an office, localization, marketing, culture, and legal. Takes a while to read, but it’s definitely worth it.

(3) Reforge Case Study: I18N of Dropbox: if you sell a product that has growth engines into it, this article is insightful. Dropbox already had a lot of international customers that started using the product organically (like myself, who started using Dropbox in 2010 before it was available in German), and used those customers to gather insights and spearhead expansion into different countries. They made a few curious choices, for instance choosing Norway as the first country to expand into — which seems strange, but makes perfect sense if you follow their logic.

In general, Reforge offers plenty of good resources regarding internationalization (for example here, here, and here).

(4) Brighteye Ventures: International Expansion in EdTech: if you work for an EdTech company like I do, this guide is worth a read for sure. Brighteye surveyed 57 managers working in international expansion (disclaimer: I was one of them) to understand the process better.

As you can see, there’s some good stuff out there, but I sometimes feel like I can’t really find what I’m looking for.

Therefore, please let me know:

  1. If you’ve found more resources on internationalization — I’d be happy to read more, and add to my pool of articles.
  2. If you’re in the same situation and would like to learn more about my experience (ideally with specific problems). I love writing, and maybe I can share a thing or two that might be helpful for you.

You can find me on LinkedIn, or simply shoot me an email at

Thanks for reading!

PS: The company I work for, Sdui, is hiring across Product, Sales, Strategy, and … International. Shoot me a message if you’re interested.

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