Ways to Spot Companies Looking to Expand Internationally

International expansion is one of the biggest steps in a company’s growth journey. Many of our clients use the Beauhurst platform to find promising early-stage companies that they can support through their next stages. Expansion into international markets is a move that often requires the help and expertise of numerous advisers, agencies and investors, in order to build a robust international expansion strategy. 

There are a number of indicators that suggest a company has achieved saturation of its local market and is ready for international growth. Intentions to enter new markets may be stated in public announcements, or revealed in a more subtle change in business activity. We collect a variety of data points that can reveal these intentions, and provide our clients with powerful tools to easily find and keep track of them on the Beauhurst platform. In this post, we’ve outlined four of these methods. Let us know if you can think of any others, whether you’re a user of the platform or not!
1. Keep an eye on public announcements and rumours
Some companies may be very vocal about their ambitions for global expansion, especially those that are selling direct to consumers and are cultivating a transparent brand. For example, Monzo has laid their product roadmap for their US expansion completely bare on a public trello board, allowing anyone to vote on the features they would like to see built next. Most companies will present their plans in a more reserved manner, via press releases or senior leadership interviews.

Using Beauhurst’s Advanced Search tool, you can identify companies that have been featured in an article which also mentions a particular country, whether that’s Japan, Austria or Brazil, a region such as the EU, APAC, or a whole continent, or even a specific phrase like ‘international expansion’, ‘foreign markets’ or ‘global business’. This method can be a great place to find the high-growth companies that are publicly speaking about business expansion, or are rumoured to be starting the expansion process.

Create a Collection from your search and you can choose to receive a notification to your inbox when a new company meets the criteria, so you can get a list of new leads on a daily or weekly basis—whatever fits best with your workflow.

2. Look out for recent fundraisings with foreign investors
Going global is, like many startup activities, capital intensive. Many companies will secure equity fundraisings a few months prior to an international launch in order to fund the operation. A fundraise that is backed by foreign investors acts as an even stronger indication of plans to expand overseas, as foreign investors can better advise on the business environment in their home locations, and introduce their portfolio companies to local contacts.

For example, in May 2014, whilst doing business solely within the UK, Deliveroo raised a £2.7m equity round backed by all British investors (Hoxton Ventures, Index Ventures and JamJar Investments). In January 2015 the company raised again, this time with participation from Belgian Hummingbird Ventures, as well as US firm Accel, which operates globally. Three months later and it officially launched in Paris and Berlin, before rolling out across larger areas of Europe. So it seems that bringing these foreign investors on board in January helped the company to realise its international growth strategy. 

How can you utilise this knowledge? Our Advanced Search allows you to narrow down a list of companies by the type and location of their funders, the relative dates of their latest raise and even the proposed use of funding rounds (where it’s been announced).

3. Check the volume of direct exports
Within financial statements submitted to Companies House, a business declares the value of its exports from its home country to others. When this value becomes significant and is growing quickly between financial years, there’s fairly good reason for the team to be considering a dedicated team for its international business, and approach new customers across the globe.

4. See what languages are being used on the website
If we pick up on foreign languages being used on company websites, then this shows some intention to appeal to an international market, and suggests that a company has already established a customer base abroad. You can search across companies using specific languages on their website within the Advanced Search Tool.

Fintech company Revolut provides services to residents in the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States. This is reflected in the languages used on its website.

‘HREF’ refers to a piece of code that tells Google which language is being used, so it can show the relevant page for users, depending on which language their search query uses.
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