This paper extends the institutional theory perspective by examining the strategic behaviour of founders of smaller service firms in a key emerging economy - India. Building on accelerated internationalisation and legitimacy literature in the emerging market context, we provide a new perspective, emerging market aggressiveness, which explains why founders/managers are not always passive recipients of their environment. Their selections of locations are dependent on the vision and stretch goals of the founder and their ability to gain legitimacy quickly to move that vision to a reality. They do not appear to be limited by their potential liabilities of newness, foreignness, emergingness or outsidership. They adopt committed modes of entry from the outset to build their legitimacy and reduce their liability as an outsider. Using a qualitative multiple case study approach, we demonstrate that managers are able to use proactive, planned and unplanned strategies simultaneously, in order to quickly prepare themselves to take advantage of transient international opportunities, ahead of their competitors in advanced markets.