Born global firms have stimulated substantial academic attention as regards their start up but research has neglected their subsequent, ongoing internationalisation. This contribution extends analysis from the inception and childhood to the growth and maturity of such firms. We investigate whether born global are also ‘‘born to run’’ companies; we also try to reconcile the analysis of international new ventures in international entrepreneurship studies with the approaches based on fast growing firms and gazelles. We initially present the latest advances in the modelling of accelerated internationalisation over time; we then discuss and develop a conceptual framework and a model that captures the variables that affect born global firms’ evolution in an holistic perspective; finally, we match case study analysis with the framework and discuss our findings. The results show two groups of firms that differ significantly in long-term internationalisation paths and growth cycles. We highlight turning points in these paths and discuss the drivers which lead to sustained high growth. The characteristics of the entrepreneurial/management teams, strategic partnerships and the entry in complex markets are the main differentiators in growth patterns, irrespectively of the industry. The ‘‘openness’’ of the founders and the early preparation for growth determine both the extent of organizational learning and the speed at which it is developed and used. We see said learning and its speed in development and use as the underlying, necessary mechanism of sustained high growth.
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