One of the most compelling promises of the internet was that for first time in human history, businesses could connect and transact with people anywhere in the world.  Roughly 20 years into the digital revolution however, less than 50% of the global population enjoys access to the internet.

But that is rapidly changing 

Just have a look at how quickly developing markets are catching up and coming online (slides below via KPCB)

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More telling is the current traffic levels for the top 10 internet properties (many are US based).   Interestingly, most of the traffic from the top 10 properties comes from outside the USA in 2013.

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It is time to start thinking “Global First”  

Internet clone factories like Rocket Internet have started to think Global First when they launch–capitalizing on the inability of some US companies (e.g. Amazon/Zappos) to quickly move across the globe.  Located in the multilingual melting pot of Berlin, Germany, Rocket has created a distribution network with the capability to springboard operationally across the globe “at will.”

Smart start-ups like Betable are starting to launch with a Global First mentality.  Objections to online gambling aside, Betable sees the immediate global opportunities (e.g. the top 6 countries in Europe have a higher GDP than North America) and recognizes the fierce demand building within emerging economies.

If you’re interested in being part of an internet or mobile venture that wins in the 21st century, you should start thinking about your global strategy.  As Stefano Bernardi from Betable points out in this excellent article–you could even consider going Global First.

Don’t get left behind.