Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

The role of foreign venture capital and foreign business angels in start-ups’ early internationalization: The case of Polish ICT start-ups



Objective: The objective of the article is to examine the role of foreign venture capital and foreign business angels in companies’ early internationalization based on the example of Polish ICT start-ups.

Research Design & Methods: We based the scientific argument on an analysis of the existing state of knowledge in this area and the empirical research conducted among 220 Polish start-ups, which founded our logistic regression model.

Findings: Based on the study, a positive relationship exists between the involvement of foreign venture capital funds in start-ups and their early internationalization.

Implications & Recommendations: Start-ups should cooperate with foreign institutions, such as venture capital funds, as their knowledge and experience can be a source of start-ups’ early internationalization. We recommend that scholars conduct further in-depth panel studies on the impact of foreign investment funds on the early internationalization process.

Contribution & Value Added: The article covers research yet to be undertaken in research analyses in early internationalization and can serve as a starting point for further in-depth studies of the phenomenon, also based on start-ups from other countries.


venture capital, business angel, early internationalization, international entrepreneurship, financial capital

(PDF) Save

Author Biography

Krystian Bigos

Assistant Professor at Krakow University of Economics, Department of International Trade at College of Economics, Finance and Law. His research interests include early and rapid internationalisation, international start-ups and international entrepreneurship.

Adam Michalik

Assistant Professor at Krakow University of Economics, Department of International Trade at College of Economics, Finance and Law.

His research interests include entrepreneurship, foreign investments, and security of business transactions.


  1. Abdullahi, I., Lemański, M.K., Kapogiannis, G., & Jimenez-Bescos, C. (2022). Identifying and assessing com-plexity emergent behaviour during mega infrastructure construction in Sub-Saharan Africa. Entrepre-neurial Business and Economics Review, 10(3), 7-22.
  2. Aga, G.A., & Reilly, B. (2011). Access to credit and informality among micro and small enterprises in Ethiopia. International Review of Applied Economics, 25(3), 313-329.
  3. Akyüz, K.C., Akyüz, İ., Serіn, H., & Cindik, H. (2006). The financing preferences and capital structure of micro, small and medium sized firm owners in forest products industry in Turkey. Forest Policy and Economics, 8(3), 301-311.
  4. Androniceanu, A. (2023). The new trends of digital transformation and artificial intelligence in public admin-istration. Administratie si Management Public, 40, 147-155.
  5. Baier-Fuentes, H., Hormiga, E., Amorós, J.E., & Urbano, D. (2018). The influence of human and relational capital on the rapid internationalization of firms. Academia Revista Latinoamericana De Administración, 31(4), 679-700.
  6. Bilan, Y., Oliinyk, O., Mishchuk, H., & Skare, M. (2023). Impact of information and communications technology on the development and use of knowledge. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 191, 122519.
  7. Capik, P., & Brockerhoff, A. (2017). The Role of Strategic Partnerships in the Internationalisation of Small Born Global Firms. Entrepreneurial Business and Economics Review, 5(3), 49-77.
  8. Carpenter, R.E., & Petersen, B.C. (2002). Capital Market Imperfections, High‐Tech Investment, and New Equi-ty Financing. The Economic Journal, 112(477), F54-F72.
  9. Cassar, G. (2004). The financing of business start-ups. Journal of Business Venturing, 19(2), 261-283.
  10. Cavusgil, S.T. (1994). Born globals: a quiet revolution among Australian exporters. Journal of International Marketing, 2(3), 4-6.
  11. Cavusgil, S.T., & Knight, G. (2015). The born global firm: An entrepreneurial and capabilities perspective on early and rapid internationalization. Journal of International Business Studies, 46(1), 3-16.
  12. Civelek, M., & Krajčík, V. (2022). How do SMEs from different countries perceive export impediments de-pending on their firm-level characteristics? System approach. Oeconomia Copernicana, 13(1), 55-78.
  13. Clarysse, B., & Bruneel, J. (2007). Nurturing and growing innovative start-ups: the role of policy as integrator. R&D Management, 37(2), 139-149.
  14. Clercq, D. de, & Manigart, S. (2007). The Venture Capital Post-investment Phase: Opening the Black Box of Involvement. In H. Landström (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Venture Capital (pp. 193-218). Cheltenham, UK, Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing.
  15. Clercq, D. de, Sapienza, H.J., Yavuz, R.I., & Zhou, L. (2012). Learning and knowledge in early internationaliza-tion research: Past accomplishments and future directions. Journal of Business Venturing, 27(1), 143-165.
  16. Crick, J.M., & Crick, D. (2018). Angel investors’ predictive and control funding criteria. Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, 20(1), 34-56.
  17. Croce, A., Schwienbacher, A., & Ughetto, E. (2023). Internationalization of business angel investments: The role of investor experience. International Business Review, 32(1), 102033.
  18. Cumming, D.J., & Groh, A.P. (2018). Entrepreneurial finance: Unifying themes and future directions. Journal of Corporate Finance, 50, 538-555.
  19. Cumming, D.J., & MacIntosh, J.G. (2003). Venture-Capital Exits in Canada and the United States. The Univer-sity of Toronto Law Journal, 53(2), 101-199.
  20. Cumming, D.J., Deloof, M., Manigart, S., & Wright, M. (2019). New directions in entrepreneurial finance. Journal of Banking & Finance, 100, 252-260.
  21. Dalal, A. (2022). Meta-analysis of determinants of venture capital activity. Entrepreneurial Business and Eco-nomics Review, 10(1), 113-128.
  22. Deng, Z., Zhu, Z., Johanson, M., & Hilmersson, M. (2022). Rapid internationalisation and exit of exporters: The role of digital platforms. International Business Review, 31(1), 101896.
  23. Drover, W., Busenitz, L., Matusik, S., Townsend, D., Anglin, A., & Dushnitsky, G. (2017). A Review and Road Map of Entre-preneurial Equity Financing Research: Venture Capital, Corporate Venture Capital, Angel Investment, Crowdfunding, and Accelerators. Journal of Management, 43(6), 1820-1853.
  24. Ebben, J. (2009). Bootstrapping and the financial condition of small firms. International Journal of Entrepre-neurial Behavior & Research, 15(4), 346-363.
  25. Ebben, J., & Johnson, A. (2006). Bootstrapping in small firms: An empirical analysis of change over time. Journal of Business Venturing, 21(6), 851-865.
  26. Fernandez, V. (2021). The role of trust and social commitment in start-up financing. International Review of Financial Analysis, 75, 101722.
  27. Fernhaber, S.A., & McDougall, P.P. (2009). Venture Capitalists as Catalysts to New Venture Internationaliza-tion: The Impact of Their Knowledge and Reputation Resources. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 33(1), 277-295.
  28. Fernhaber, S.A., McDougall, P.P., & Shepherd, D. A. (2009). International entrepreneurship: leveraging inter-nal and external knowledge sources. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 3(4), 297-320.
  29. George, G., Wiklund, J., & Zahra, S.A. (2005). Ownership and the Internationalization of Small Firms. Journal of Management, 31(2), 210-233.
  30. Grilli, L. (2019). There must be an angel? Local financial markets, business angels and the financing of inno-vative start-ups. Regional Studies, 53(5), 620-629.
  31. Guler, I., & Guillén, M.F. (2010). Institutions and the internationalization of US venture capital firms. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(2), 185-205.
  32. Hamilton, R.T., & Fox, M.A. (1998). The financing preferences of small firm owners. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 4(3), 239-248.
  33. Hewerdine, L.J., Rumyantseva, M., & Welch, C. (2014). Resource scavenging. International Marketing Review, 31(3), 237-258.
  34. Hosmer, D.W., Lemeshow, S., & Sturdivant, R.X. (2013). Applied logistic regression (Third edition). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
  35. Humphery-Jenner, M., & Suchard, J.‑A. (2013). Foreign venture capitalists and the internationalization of entrepreneurial companies: Evidence from China. Journal of International Business Studies, 44(6), 607-621.
  36. Jalil, M.F., Ali, A., & Ahmed, Z. (2022). Microfinance services and MSE growth in Pakistan: The mediating perspective of social and psychological capital. Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management, and Innova-tion, 18(1), 93-129.
  37. Jiang, G., Kotabe, M., Zhang, F., Hao, A.W., Paul, J., & Wang, C.L. (2020). The determinants and performance of early internationalising firms: A literature review and research agenda. International Business Review, 29(4), 101662.
  38. Johanson, J., & Vahlne, J.‑E. (1974). The internationalization Process of the Firm. Mimeographed Working Paper. Uppsala: Department of Business Administration.
  39. Karas, M., & Režňáková, M. (2021). The role of financial constraint factors in predicting SME default. Equilib-rium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, 16(4), 859-883.
  40. Kelly, P. (2007). Business Angel Research: The Road Traveled and the Journey Ahead. In H. Landström (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Venture Capital (pp. 315-331). Cheltenham, UK, Northampton, MA, USA: Ed-ward Elgar Publishing.
  41. Kézai, K.P., & Konczos Szombathelyi, M. (2021). Factors effecting female startuppers in Hungary. Economics and Sociology, 14(4), 186-203.
  42. Kirwan, P., Ratinho, T., van der Sijde, P., & Groen, A.J. (2019). The early development of International New Ventures: a multidimensional exploration. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 25(6), 1340-1367.
  43. Ključnikov , A., Civelek, M., Klimeš, C., & Farana, R. (2022a). Export risk perceptions of SMEs in selected Vise-grad countries. Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, 17(1), 173-190.
  44. Ključnikov, A., Civelek, M., Krajčík, V., Novák, P., & Červinka, M. (2022b). Financial performance and bank-ruptcy concerns of SMEs in their export decision. Oeconomia Copernicana, 13(3), 867-890.
  45. Kollmann, J., & Dobrovič, J. (2022). Key factors of organizational and management structures in the for-mation of competitive strategy. Journal of International Studies, 15(3), 130-144.
  46. Kościółek, S. (2022). Heterogeneity of motivations among crowdinvestors: Evidence from the football indus-try. Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management, and Innovation, 18(4), 157-183.
  47. Landström, H. (2007). Pioneers in venture capital research. In H. Landström (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Venture Capital (pp. 3-65). Cheltenham, UK, Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing.
  48. Lee, Y.Y., Falahat, M., & Sia, B.K. (2019). Impact of digitalization on the speed of internationalization. Inter-national Business Research, 12(4), 1-11.
  49. Li, T. (2023). International competitiveness readiness, home country institutions and early internationalisa-tion. Management Decision, 61(3), 838-860.
  50. Liang, Y., Watters, C., & Lemański, M.K. (2022). Responsible Management in the Hotel Industry: An Integra-tive Review and Future Research Directions. Sustainability, 14(24), 17050.
  51. Lockett, A., Wright, M., Burrows, A., Scholes, L., & Paton, D. (2008). The export intensity of venture capital backed companies. Small Business Economics, 31(1), 39-58.
  52. Machado, M.A., & Bischoff, V. (2021). The use and knowledge of export promotion programs in the early internationalization of Brazilian SMEs. International Journal of Emerging Markets. Advance online publi-cation.
  53. Mason, C., Botelho, T., & Harrison, R. (2019). The changing nature of angel investing: some research implica-tions. Venture Capital, 21(2-3), 177-194.
  54. McDougall, P.P. (1989). International versus domestic entrepreneurship: New venture strategic behavior and industry structure. Journal of Business Venturing, 4(6), 387-400.
  55. Meuleman, M., & Wright, M. (2011). Cross-border private equity syndication: Institutional context and learning. Journal of Business Venturing, 26(1), 35-48.
  56. Moen, Ø., Sørheim, R., & Erikson, T. (2008). Born Global Firms and Informal Investors: Examining Investor Characteristics. Journal of Small Business Management, 46(4), 536-549.
  57. Morais, F., & Ferreira, J.J. (2020). SME internationalisation process: Key issues and contributions, existing gaps and the future research agenda. European Management Journal, 38(1), 62-77.
  58. Onkelinx, J., & Sleuwaegen, L. (2010). Internationalization strategy and performance of small and medium sized enterprises. NBB Working Paper Research, 197, 1-45.
  59. Onkelinx, J., Manolova, T.S., & Edelman, L.F. (2016). The human factor: Investments in employee human capital, productivity, and SME internationalization. Journal of International Management, 22(4), 351-364.
  60. Oviatt, B.M., & McDougall, P.P. (1994). Toward a Theory of International New ventures. Journal of Interna-tional Business Studies, 25(1), 45-64.
  61. Park, S., & LiPuma, J.A. (2020). New venture internationalization: The role of venture capital types and repu-tation. Journal of World Business, 55(1), 101025.
  62. Paul, J., & Rosado-Serrano, A. (2019). Gradual Internationalization vs Born-Global/International new ven-ture models. International Marketing Review, 36(6), 830-858.
  63. Pokrivčák, J., & Tóth, M. (2022). Financing Gap of Agro-food Firms and the Role of Policies. AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, 14(665-2022-1002), 85-96.
  64. Ramadani, V. (2009). Business angels: who they really are. Strategic Change, 18(7-8), 249-258.
  65. Reuber, A.R., Dimitratos, P., & Kuivalainen, O. (2017). Beyond categorization: New directions for theory de-velopment about entrepreneurial internationalization. Journal of International Business Studies, 48(4), 411-422.
  66. Rialp, A., Rialp, J., & Knight, G.A. (2005). The phenomenon of early internationalizing firms: what do we know after a decade (1993-2003) of scientific inquiry?. International Business Review, 14(2), 147-166.
  67. Robb, A.M., & Robinson, D.T. (2014). The Capital Structure Decisions of New Firms. Review of Financial Stud-ies, 27(1), 153-179.
  68. Romanello, R., & Chiarvesio, M. (2019). Early internationalizing firms: 2004-2018. Journal of International Entrepreneurship, 17(2), 172-219.
  69. Roshchyk, I., Oliinyk, O., Mishchuk, H., & Bilan, Y. (2022). IT Products, E-Commerce, and Growth: Analysis of Links in Emerging Market. Transformations in Business & Economics, 21(1), 209-227.
  70. Rossi, S.P.S., Bonanno, G., Giansoldati, M., & Gregori, T. (2018). Are Venture Capital SMEs more likely to start exporting?. Economics Bulletin, 38(3), 1613-1622.
  71. Ruzzier, M., Hisrich, R.D., & Antoncic, B. (2006). SME internationalization research: past, present, and future. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 13(4), 476-497.
  72. Shkodra, J., Ymeri, P., & Ibishi, L. (2021). Role of microfinance institutions for developing women entrepre-neurship – the case study of Kosovo. Economics and Sociology, 14(1), 120-129. doi:10.14254/2071-789X.2021/14-1/8
  73. St-Pierre, J., Sakka, O., & Bahri, M. (2018). External Financing, Export Intensity and Inter-Organizational Col-laborations: Evidence from Canadian SMEs Journal of Small Business Management, 56, 68-87.
  74. Szczepańska-Woszczyna, K., & Gatnar, S. (2022). Key competences of research and development project managers in high technology sector. Forum Scientiae Oeconomia, 10(3), 107-130.
  75. Tong, Y., & Serrasqueiro, Z. (2021). Predictions of failure and financial distress: A study on Portuguese high and medium-high technology small and mid-sized enterprises. Journal of International Studies, 14(2), 9-25. 8330.2021/14-2/1
  76. Vahlne, J.-E. (2020). Development of the Uppsala model of internationalization process: From international-ization to evolution. Global Strategy Journal, 10(2), 239-250.
  77. Vahlne, J.-E., & Johanson, J. (2017). From internationalization to evolution: The Uppsala model at 40 years. Journal of International Business Studies, 48(9), 1087-1102.
  78. Wach, K. (2021). The evolution of the Uppsala model: Towards non-linearity of internationalization of firms. International Entrepreneurship Review, 7(2), 7-19.
  79. Wach, K., & Głodowska, A. (2021). How do demographics and basic traits of an entrepreneur impact the internationalization of firms?. Oeconomia Copernicana, 12(2), 399-424.
  80. Waleczek, P., Zehren, T., & Flatten, T.C. (2018). Start-up financing: How founders finance their ventures’ early stage. Managerial and Decision Economics, 39(5), 535-549.
  81. Westhead, P., Wright, M., & Ucbasaran, D. (2001). The Internationalization of New and Small Firms: A Re-source-Based View. Journal of Business Venturing, 16(4), 333-358.
  82. White, B.A., & Dumay, J. (2017). Business angels: a research review and new agenda. Venture Capital, 19(3), 183-216.
  83. Woo, H. (2020). Foreign venture capital firms and internationalization of ventures. Multinational Business Review, 28(3), 381-399.
  84. Yang, M.M., Li, T., & Wang, Y. (2020). What explains the degree of internationalization of early-stage entre-preneurial firms? A multilevel study on the joint effects of entrepreneurial self-efficacy, opportunity-motivated entrepreneurship, and home-country institutions. Journal of World Business, 55(6), 101114.
  85. Zahra, S.A., Neubaum, D.O., & Naldi, L. (2007). The Effects of Ownership and Governance on SMEs’ International Knowledge-based Resources. Small Business Economics, 29(3), 309-327.
  86. Zavatta, R. (2008). Financing Technology Entrepreneurs and SMEs in Developing Countries. Washington, DC: The World Bank.
  87. Zbierowski, P., & Gojny-Zbierowska, M. (2022). Talented enough to be a business leader? An alternative approach to entrepreneurs’ traits. Entrepreneurial Business and Economics Review, 10(1), 175-187.
  88. Zhang, X., Ma, X., Wang, Y., Li, X., & Huo, D. (2016). What drives the internationalization of Chinese SMEs? The joint effects of international entrepreneurship characteristics, network ties, and firm ownership. In-ternational Business Review, 25(2), 522-534.
  89. Zinecker, M., Skalicka, M., Balcerzak, A.P., & Pietrzak, M.B. (2021). Business angels in the Czech Republic: characteristics and a classification with policy implications. Economic Research-Ekonomska Istraživanja, 1-26.
  90. Zucchella, A., Palamara, G., & Denicolai, S. (2007). The drivers of the early internationalization of the firm. Journal of World Business, 42(3), 268-280.


Download data is not yet available.