“The markets are there to be tapped. The deals are there to be done. The opportunities are there to be capitalised on. Now together we must seize them.” So said the Prime Minister three years ago as he set out ambitious plans to double Britain’s exports to £1trn a year by 2020.
Many of the businesses in Panoramic Growth Equity’s portfolio have taken that message absolutely to heart. Indeed, one of the key reasons businesses look to us for investment – of both time and money – is to help them become more international.
Take, for example, the award-winning communications agency Dog Digital, which has been able to launch a full-scale operation in Singapore since we invested £1m in the business in March 2012. Or consider Solfex Energy Systems, where our investment enabled the company to broaden its product sourcing into the Far East. Or there’s Edesix, the body-worn video recording solutions business: it is now targeting new customer bases in the Middle and Far East, following our £750,000 investment earlier this year.
At Andante Travels, meanwhile, our £1.7m investment in May 2013 has been crucial in helping the business begin selling its archaeological trips more widely to US customers. And at Captify, the £1.2m investment we made in the digital marketing business last July has enabled the company to enhance its development team offshore and look to broaden its European reach with new offices opening in 2014.
It is not just money that these businesses require in order to build their export sales. In order to fully exploit the opportunities that the global marketplace offers, British companies must overcome a wide range of challenges. Businesses invariably discover that export markets take longer to crack – and greater financial resource – than they expect, which is why they need our support.
Get it right and the hard work can really pay off, as the experience of our portfolio businesses is already proving.
At Cascade, a manufacturer of advanced scientific instruments which was Panoramic’s first investment, exports now account for 85 per cent of revenues, with its major markets being Germany, Japan, USA and South America.
Similarly, since Dog Digital set up its Singapore operation, it has attracted a diverse range of clients including BlackMask Rum, JP Morgan, World Wildlife Fund and Johnson & Johnson. Existing clients such as Aberdeen Asset Management are now working with Dog across two continents. Staff development is also important, and with our help the company is about to launch a new international intern programme and now has the option of transferring staff between its global offices.
Edesix is also seeing significant demand for its products from overseas clients and we have encouraged the business to partner with local partners in order to give it a cost-effective entry point into these new markets. The value of the contracts now being discussed represents a transformational opportunity for the company.
Meanwhile at business analytics specialist Concorde, Panoramic has just participated in a third funding round alongside other existing and new investors in support of the company’s ambition to expand its geographic coverage and sales programme. The company also recently appointed to the board Charles Noell, an experienced US based technology investor.
And at Captify, the move into Eastern Europe enabled the business to recruit a high calibre team of developers and thus to enhance its technology offering to all its global markets. “The ability to utilise their core skills and knowledge to develop our product further and quicker has created a base for us to experience significant growth and provides significant upside to the company’s ability to grow revenues,” says chief executive Dominic Joseph.
All these businesses – and many more – have taken up the gauntlet thrown down by the Prime Minister and with Panoramic’s help, they are achieving impressive results. Internationalisation offers so many different types of opportunity – and this is just the beginning.