Prior research on the selection of international alliance partners calls for investigation of the potential specificity of selection criteria for evaluating partners for alliances with different objectives or functions. The present study responds to this need and contributes to the development of the field of international entrepreneurship by examining the relation between the alliance function and the criteria chosen. We studied three alliance functions: R&D, production, and marketing. Second, for each alliance function, we analyzed the criteria selected within two contexts: developing countries and those that consider emerging markets in their partner choice set. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with 25 executives from international new ventures (INVs) in two major North American biotechnology clusters, representing 239 alliances; 65.7 % of these were signed with international partners. Results indicate that, aside from compatibility/complementarity of resources (R&D and production alliances), all criteria used within a single function are unique to that function. Furthermore, these criteria differ somewhat when the potential partners considered by a firm include those from both emerging and developed markets, compared with firms that limit potential partners to those in developed market contexts. Finally, the study reveals that respondent firms integrate country, industry, and market attractiveness factors with partner selection criteria for marketing alliances. This suggests that, for many firms, market choice and partner selection are not successive steps. The study’s originality lies in its focus on the relationship between alliance function and partner selection criteria used by INVs as well as within different contexts.