Purpose(#br)The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of transnational entrepreneurs in growing born global firms, with a focus on the growth process facilitated by collaborative entry mode. (#br)Design/methodology/approach(#br)The author chose the solar photovoltaic industry as the empirical setting. This industry is a particularly good context for the study because many firms in this industry sell knowledge-intensive products internationally from their inception. The primary data consist of 32 in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs, industry association representatives, research institute scholars, and professional service firms. (#br)Findings(#br)The study highlights the importance of transnational entrepreneurs who develop born global firms to maturity by using their... technological knowledge, international connections, and bicultural advantages to navigate and leverage institutional complexity. Collaborative entry mode with distributors enables born global firms’ high growth rapidly, whereas transnational entrepreneurs play a central role in building and expanding international network. Initial public offering in overseas stock exchange accelerates the high growth trajectory of born global firm by signalling its maturity. (#br)Research limitations/implications(#br)The author took a process perspective by examining the growth and maturity of born global firms by collaborative partnership; the author’s focus on the role of transnational entrepreneurs highlighted entrepreneurs’ sensitivity to institutional complexity along the growth trajectory. (#br)Practical implications(#br)The author recommends both incumbent and entrepreneurial firms in developed economies collaborate with transnational entrepreneurs in various business areas. Industry firms may be able to cooperate on product and marketing development, and professional service firms can offer services to expand born global firms further, because transnational entrepreneurs follow the global “rules of the game”. (#br)Originality/value(#br)The author shed important light on the role of transnational entrepreneurs throughout the growth of born global firms via collaborative entry mode. Furthermore, the author develops a multilevel framework for analysing the combined influence of transnational entrepreneur and institutional complexity on the growth of born global firm.