The US is open for business

What can we learn from Kiwi high flyers like Rocket Lab and Zephyr Technologies? 

Contra to all the media hype about trade wars, the US market is very much open for business for innovative New Zealand and Australian companies. 

Height took a recent trip to Washington DC and New York to benchmark ourselves in the US and understand the opportunities there. 

The trip highlighted that innovative New Zealand businesses are in a really healthy space – and having some of their the best years for export sales and growth.

Businesses from the engineering and technology sector include Hamilton Jet (the waterjet manufacturer); Rocket Labs (commercial space travel) and Zephyr Technologies (established in Auckland 15 years ago, now headquartered in Maryland – manufacturers of advanced heart rate monitors and telehealth specialists in remote patient monitoring).

If your business is serious about export growth and scaling, then the US market needs to be in the consideration set - due to the share scale of the market. For example, the US Department of Defence is the largest buyer of IT and computer hardware in the world.   

In the technology and engineering space, when making decisions around exporting, the challenge is deciding what to actually export. In a mature market like the US, a simple transfer of resources from one country to another is not really a strategy, unless it is very highly specialisedand unique. 

What do successful exporters to the US market do? 

  •  Innovation – they are leading the way with specialist technologies and solutions that are unique to the market. 
  • Market niche – they don’t try and dominate a market initially. They have identified the market position, sector, partner, and regional focus. 
  • A clear and committed strategy for market growth – they have a system that incorporates their solution. They are very clear on the customer problem they solve and the associated benefits and return on investment for the customer.
  • Partners – most are using established and reputable US-based businesses as market channel partners and also to leverage their solutions as part of joint proposals to clients. 
  • Joint venture funding or being acquired – the business is raising capital via their partners to test proof of concept initially, leading to full acquisition once they are established in the market. 

For Height, the trip to the States gave us plenty to think about, and also the confidence to genuinely start to explore this significant market.

Warner Cowin, CEO