Growing on steroids: Rapidly scaling the user base of digital ventures through digital innovaton

Jimmy Huang, Ola Henfridsson, Martin J. Liu, Sue Newell

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

304 Citations (Scopus)


Digital ventures, start-ups growing by drawing on and adding to digital infrastructures, can scale their business at an unprecedented pace. We view such rapid scaling as a generative process by which a venture's user base increases significantly between two points in time through digital innovation. We studied WeCash, a Chinese digital venture, nearly doubling its user base monthly, to learn more about this generative process. We trace three contingent mechanisms underpinning rapid scaling: data-driven operation, instant release, and swift transformation. We explain these mechanisms and how they interact in the rapid scaling of digital ventures. The research offers an agency perspective on scaling of digital ventures that speaks to the digital innovation literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-314
Number of pages14
JournalMIS Quarterly: Management Information Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • Case study
  • Digital innovation
  • Digital technology
  • Digital ventures
  • Rapid scaling
  • User base

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems and Management


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