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P.S. I love you...and other growth hacking strategies used by disruptive tech start-ups: A case study on the relevance and enactment of growth hacking by Sweden's tech start-ups
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics and Media, Media and Communication Studies.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Disruption innovation theory has been the zeitgeist for building globally disruptive tech companies since 1997. One decade later, disruptive tech start-ups are moving away from traditional marketing strategies in favour of growth hacking. There is a seemingly growing consensus by online tech experts, tech entrepreneurs, advisors and investors, that suggests that growth hacking is becoming increasingly important practice for disruption based tech start-ups. Furthermore, Sweden is becoming the Silicon Valley of the Nordics, producing more unicorns per capita than any other country in the world. This case study research is an investigation of the relevance and enactment of growth hacking by disruptive tech start-ups in Sweden. The main objective is to determine whether growth hacking is actually being used and how it is enacted by the start-ups. The goal is to explore how relevant this new term is, if it as popular as suggested in online literature and if so which growth hacks are being used. The study is conducted by carrying out a qualitative case study on five tech start-ups in Sweden: Fidesmo, a smart-chip payment system based on NFC technology that can be implanted into everyday objects such as watches, bracelets and cards, and that allows users to update and add new digital services as well as open doors or pay with a simple tap; TaskRunner, a geo-location based ‘help on demand’ platform that allows people to post ads for help with tasks while nearby task runners can bid to be hired to complete those tasks; Beleco, a unique marketplace for furniture rentals with a modern white-glove approach, that allows people to change or rent, rent-to-own or buy their furniture with the utmost ease; &frankly, a continuous tracking application software that helps create happier and productive workspaces by triggering and measuring engagement and surveys between employees and employers in a non-hierarchical manner; and Wunderino; a Malta-based online casino platform started by Swedish entrepreneurs with the goal of taking the traditional pressures associated with gambling away and replacing it with an element of fun and gaming. Empirical data collection consisted of the interviews and observational study of their innovation on their platform or website. The results were interpreted and contextualized within the disruption innovation theory framework. The results of the study reveal that growth hacking is relevant to disruptive tech start-ups, and is becoming increasingly important to them as their companies develop. Additionally the study reveals that growth hacking occurs organically within these start-up structures, already integrated into their marketing and strategy, without a separate or official definition of the practices. Additionally, growth hacking may have initially been seen as lower cost approach to marketing, however the research reveals that it is not lower cost if there isn’t someone who is highly technical on the founding team. Finally, the results reveal that growth hacking is not fully operationalized or defined as growth hacking to the extent of its popularity online and in popular texts, however it does lay on the horizon as a goal for tech start-ups. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , p. 161
Keywords [en]
tech start-ups, disruption innovation theory, disruption, growth hacking, marketing, Sweden, case study
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-325969OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-325969DiVA, id: diva2:1117848
Subject / course
Media and Communication Studies
Educational program
Master Programme in Social Sciences
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-06-29 Created: 2017-06-29 Last updated: 2017-06-30Bibliographically approved

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